Gameday Preview: Dallas Stars @ Buffalo Sabres


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Dallas Stars
@ Buffalo Sabres

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010, 6:00 PM CST
HSBC Arena

Local TV: KDFI-27

Radio: 1310 The Ticket (online @ stars.nhl.com)

Complete Coverage >


 

Down 2-0 after 40 minutes against the Caps, the Stars were staring a four game losing streak in the face. But thanks to a resurgent power play, the Stars tied the game, then went ahead on a James Neal goal, survived a two-goal slump busting effort from Alex Ovechkin, got 49 saves out of Marty Turco, and stole two points on Loui Eriksson's game winning shootout goal.

Tonight, they'll try to take another step to climb out of the hole they dug themselves coming right out of the Olympic break. And if they can somehow grab two more points against American silver medalist Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabres, they'll come home with a very respectable 4 points out of 6.

More about tonight's game after the jump:

The Stars:

As expected, Marc Crawford will reward Marty Turco with another start tonight after stopping 49 of 52 shots from the Caps. He'll get a breather tonight as the Sabres' offense certainly isn't as potent as Washington's is.

But it'll still be a daunting task for a Stars club that hasn't won in Buffalo since Brett Hull scored that infamous goal in the third OT of Game 6 of the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals. For visiting Buffalo fans to our site, that'll be the last time I mention it...at least in this preview.

Since then, the Stars have gone 0-3-1 in four previous visits to Western New York. In fact, they haven't beaten the Sabres in any game since the 2002-03 season.

Last year, they blew a 3-0 lead at home and a 4-2 third period lead before dropping a 5-4 decision on the shootout. A day earlier, this blog went live, thanks to some guy who works for NBC Sports now.

Still, the lack of recent success against the Sabres isn't deterring the Starts from understanding how important Monday's win was. And what it could mean forward (quotes from Andrews DSP)

"Hopefully this is something we can rally around," said Turco. "We started off this post-Olympics terrible and we need points. It doesn't matter who it is against. We go to Buffalo next and it's going to be a tough one. But we can use this one, which shows no matter what happens in games we can come out with a win."

The Sabres:

Penalties by Mike Green and Matt Bradley helped the Stars come back Monday night against Washington. The fact that the Caps sport a 25th ranked power play certainly helped.

But should the Stars find themselves needing to come back tonight behind their power play, don't expect the task to be so easy as Buffalo has the 4th highest ranked penalty killing percentage in the league.

A lot of that credit goes to former Buffalo defenseman-turned-assistant-coach James Patrick. You might remember him from Game 6 of the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals where he rang a point shot off a faceoff off the crossbar that could have sent the series back to Dallas.

The unit has been so good that our sister site, Die by the Blade, feels that he ought to get a Sabres Academy Award for his work.

Buffalo leads the Northeast with 79 points. And when you read about the goal scoring problems the team has had, you can probably see why Patrick's unit has been so valuable for Buffalo this season.

Finally, we'd be remiss if we didn't give a hat tip to Mike Heika for this Calgary Herald story chronicling Tyler Myers' journey to the NHL. He's a 20-year old rookie blueliner for the Sabres.

He's also a native Texan from Houston who got hooked on hockey just by attending one Houston Aeros game.

The Injuries:

Dallas: Nicklas Grossman (back) and Jere Lehtinen (ill) are both doubtful according to Mike Heika, Brian Sutherby (shoulder) is out

This afternoon the Stars announced that Brian Sutherby has been activated from the IR list.   With Jere doubtful, he could draw into the lineup tonight.

Buffalo: Paul Gaustad (hand) is day to day, Drew Staffford (groin) is out indefinitely

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