The comfort of the American Airlines Center was of little use after the Dallas Stars had gotten off to a pretty nice post-break start on an Eastern road swing. The Stars blew a 2-0 lead to Colorado on Tuesday and then wasted an impressive comeback effort against the Lightning Thursday with an abysmal third period.
So they'll go back east, this time to face the Buffalo Sabres, and in desperate need of points as the rest of the West passes them by.
The Stars had a rather undesirable start Thurday night as a team, but no topic was off the table after wasting the comeback effort. Including, once again, Kari Lehtonen.
"Kari wasn't good enough for us tonight," his coach opined. "When you play a team playing that well and you battle back, he's got to be better. A team like that you're not going to hold to no chances. He made the one big save on the breakaway but their goalie probably made more saves."
Following that, the Stars announced Friday morning that Anders Lindback had been recalled from his conditioning assignment, and Ruff continued to consider the situation.
"Met with him again this morning," he told media Friday. "We'll just take it one game at a time here. It seems like every night the other goalie is outdueling us."
There's no mincing words these days.
There wasn't much word out of practice on Friday that was not goaltender related- Erik Cole had a maintenance day. Travis Moen has been placed on IR with a lower body injury. Brett Ritchie is back with the team and was the scratch, as you know, on Thursday.
Will it be Kari Lehtonen or Anders Lindback tonight? It's hard to say, but whoever it is may not face many shots.
Yes, it's finally the Dallas Stars' turn to play those famously hapless Buffalo Sabres.
They are last in the NHL in points. Last in the NHL in regulation/overtime wins. Second to last in total wins to Edmonton. Last in points percentage. Last in goals per game at 1.75.
They're even last, yes there's a team (two actually) worse than the Stars, in GA/GP at 3.52 through 52 games. They're last in 5-on-5 GF/GA ratio. They're last in power play percentage at 11.2%. Last in shots against at nearly 35.
They are quite simply just last all around. Which doesn't mean they can't rise up and strike every now and then- Ask the Montreal Canadiens, who the Stars couldn't beat. Buffalo did.
That being said, the Sabres recently dropped 14 games in a row- in regulation- and managed just an average of 21 shots on goal in the stretch. Their puck possession is also worst in the league, and dramatically so, perhaps driving all of those other numbers. They have the puck barely 37% of the time (Corsi).
The Stars should be heavy favorites this evening- Or should they? Dallas has 11 wins at home this year. Buffalo? 10. It's the road (5-20-1) that has truly doomed them.
Their lineup, or something like it:
The bells and sirens that went off while you were reading through that list of names was because of noted Star-killer Matt Moulson, whose presence looms large with the Stars' goaltending situation.
The key? Score before he can. Buffalo is 3-25-2 when the opposition gets on the board first.
It's an early start at 6:00pm on Fox Sports Southwest PLUS.
From Stars PR: (who's losing a good friend of ours to another opportunity in Greg Ramirez)
Tomorrow's contest is the first of two games scheduled during the 2014-15 season against the Buffalo Sabres. The Stars earned their first regular season win in Buffalo since Oct. 7, 1997 during last season's 4-3 victory in Buffalo on Oct. 28, 2013. Tyler Seguin scored a goal and posted an assist in the contest, while Erik Cole registered two assists as Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was victorious in his first game against his former club. The Stars went 2-0-0 against Buffalo last season with Lindy Ruff securing his 600th career win on March 3, 2014 in a 3-2 victory at American Airlines Center.