Buffalo Sabres Reunite With Jhonas Enroth, Dallas Stars


The Buffalo Sabres will face several familiar opponents on Monday as they visit the Dallas Stars for an 8:30 p.m puck drop at the American Airlines Center.

Tonight’s game marks the first time the Buffalo Sabres will play the Dallas Stars since the teams swapped goaltenders back in February.

Anders Lindback, who has ridden a hot hand with a 2.49 GAA and .930 save percentage since the trade, faces his former Stars team for the first time.

On the other side of things, former Sabres netminder Jhonas Enroth will also face HIS former team — but he’ll have to do so from the bench.

Enroth has appeared in seven games with the Stars since the trade. His overall record is 1-5-0 with a 3.35 GAA and .873 save percentage.

Kari Lehtonen has been the Stars netminder in the past two games, one which was a shutout, and it appears he’ll be starting tonight’s game against Buffalo. Of course, they could decide to give Lehtonen a rest against a painfully struggling Sabres team and let Enroth face his former teammates — but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

That’s right — the Stars are riding a two-game win streak into tonight’s bout with the Sabres. They defeated the Penguins on Thursday by a score of 2-1, then shut out the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday 4-0. Tonight’s game is the final in a four-game homestand for the Stars.

Of course, Enroth isn’t the only familiar face the Sabres will see this evening. There’s also former Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff, as well as former Sabres assistant coach James Patrick, both of whom now suit up behind the bench for the Stars organization.

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Stars captain Jamie Benn has been the team’s hottest player, with a team-high 43 assists and 67 points this season. But there’s also center Tyler Seguin, who has 64 points in 62 games this year with Dallas, including a team-high 33 goals. Seguin leads the team on the man advantage with 11 power-play goals and 25 power-play points on the season.

Another player to watch: Jason Spezza, who has 55 points (16-39) in 72 games. Thirty-eight (38) percent of Spezza’s points have come with the man advantage. Altogether, Benn, Seguin and Spezza have combined for 62 power-play points. That’s downright dangerous, meaning if the Sabres hope to be successful tonight, they’ll have to limit the power-play chances Dallas gets.

While the Stars are riding a two-game winning streak into tonight’s game, the Sabres are riding a two-game losing streak. Losses to New Jersey and Nashville this weekend have continued to slot Buffalo at 30th in the league, three points behind the Arizona Coyotes.

Matt Hackett finally hit the ice on Saturday for the Sabres, stopping 40 of 43 shots faced in the loss. The Sabres went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.

Of course, the “Sabres” should really be called the “Saberks” right now (or perhaps some other, more clever mashup), due to the string of recent AHL call-ups. Injuries to Cody McCormick, Josh Gorges, Patrick Kaleta, Evander Kane, Zemgus Girgensons, Chad Johnson and Zach Bogosian have absolutely depleted the Sabres roster, forcing the team to call up guys like Jerry D’Amigo, Zac Dalpe and most recently, Mikhail Grigorenko.

Despite all of that, there’s still a few players to watch tonight for the Sabres, starting with Tyler Ennis, who has five points (3-2) in his last three games against the Stars. Matt Moulson leads the team with 12 points (7-5) in 10 NHL games against the Stars, and overall, Johan Larsson has six points in his last seven games this season.

Ennis is reportedly ill and may miss tonight’s game, but Nolan expects him to play. D’Amigo is out for tonight (MRI/face), allowing the Sabres to recall Tim Schaller.

Nicolas Deslauriers, Marcus Foligno and Mike Weber have a combined 557 hits this season. That includes Deslauriers’ 231, which is eighth-most in the league. Weber also leads active Sabres blueliners with 146 blocked shots this season.

Tonight’s game is the second and final meeting between the Sabres and Stars this season, and the second bout between the two teams in less than two months. Buffalo defeated Dallas by a score of 3-2 in Buffalo on February 7.

The Sabres are overall 7-3-0 in their last 10 games against the Stars, but have an opposite record of 3-7-0 when looking at just road games against Dallas.

After tonight’s game, the Sabres will play two of their next three against the Arizona Coyotes in what many are calling “the battle for 30th place.” With just nine games left on tap for the season, things are winding down and we’re looking ahead to a (hopefully) brighter future. But first — tonight’s game. Once again, it’s a late puck drop tonight with game time set for 8:30 p.m. EST.

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