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Gameday Preview: Buffalo Sabres @ Dallas Stars (7:00pm CST)

It's NBC Sports Network tonight as the Stars take on Steve Ot... no... Jaroslav Halak.

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

Two rather fortuitous long-range mishaps saw the Dallas Stars go down 2-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday at American Airlines Center, but head coach Lindy Ruff liked his team's response, though they lost 4-2 ahead of Monday's matchup with the Buffalo Sabres.

"The thing I liked is we hunkered down and went to work," Ruff said after the game. "We fought our way back even at 3-2, we made two or three multiple opportunities to tie it up and missed those opportunities. We missed out on a couple, and a couple we hit him smack in the leg."

Dallas out-attempted Tampa Bay 47-11 in the second period but had trouble with Ben Bishop, eventually failing to overcome their first 20 minutes.

Stars fans were informed just before game-time of Brenden Dillon's absence from Saturday's proceedings after the defenseman apparently suffered a lower-body injury against the Hurricanes.

"I was coming around the net and I think it was Jordan Staal trailing from behind, and he kind of fell on me awkwardly," Dillon told media Sunday. "I felt kind of a pinch. It was there, but it wasn't really inhibiting at the time. I finished the game and it felt pretty good, but after the fact it just started to tighten up. It didn't feel so good the next day either."

Something was pinched. And something tightened up. We'll never know. He may or may not be able to go on Monday.

Lindy Ruff told media following Saturday's loss that Dan Ellis would get some burn either tonight or Tuesday. Morning skate may reveal more about that plan. Kari Lehtonen is this team's everything, but did not have his best outing on Saturday. Might he get the the night off in favor of Ellis? Columbus on the road does seem like the much more difficult of the two. Well update after skate.

Meanwhile, late Friday afternoon the Buffalo Sabres traded captain and former Dallas Stars Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues along with goaltender Ryan Miller, getting Jaroslav Halak and Chris Stewart back in the deal, both of whom should be bothersome this evening.

Before the weekend was out the fallout from that deal then included the resignation of Pat Lafontaine, president of hockey operations for the Sabres. The abrupt management change, according to some, may have stemmed from a difference of opinion with general manager Tim Murray over the Miller deal and other rebuilding transactions yet to come.

That's a crazy week for any hockey team.

Crazier still, they dressed Ryan Vinz, a former video scout who failed to make a college squad, last playing (aside from rec-league) in high school. The trade of Ryan Miller was completed just hours before the game, and a team must have two goaltenders per NHL rules.

Jaroslav Halak has joined the team since, and should be in net tonight with Jhonas Enroth backing up.

Their lineup:



One of the largest mess in professional sports, some might say. All you need to know tonight is that they have Matt Moulson. In seven games against Dallas in his career Moulson has seven goals and an assist for eight points, including the two he scored on them earlier this season.

Buffalo has won three in a row for the first time this season, including wins over Boston and San Jose. All three were are home, but what a reversal for a team in turmoil. They have nothing to gain, and subsequently nothing to lose, while all Dallas' hopes and dreams stand upon the edge of a knife.

Then again the Sabres were out-shot 109-64 in the three wins. If Dallas' luck breaks from the Tampa game, perhaps the Sabres' of late will as well.

Assume nothing about this one tonight, but do remember the early 7:00pm start time as NBC Sports is featuring this one nationally.