The Dallas Cowboys' season is over- Perhaps, dear reader, you have arrived in this space wanting to turn over a new leaf and get caught up on that hockey team you recall was doing so well last season when you wrenched your attention away from the American-Footballing locals.
Well, good news. There are many, many reason that you should pay close attention to this exciting hockey team. Lots of them. I would tell you what they are, but the dog ate my hockey homework. I'll have to get back to you.
Honestly it's a bit of a rough time, dear reader. The Stars did something pretty Cowboy like in their last outing. They allowed the opposition a lead. They climbed a tremendous mountain (a four-goal deficit, even) at put the game back level.
And then they, like the Cowboys, lost- to the Minnesota Wild as it happened, on a fairly last minute goal that erased a heroic comeback effort. See? Matchy matchy.
The Stars' season will go on, however. Whether or not it similarly reaches the post-season... The odds are not looking good. Turning that around needs to happen quickly. Buffalo, in a weird afternoon start time, would be a prime spot to begin.
Buffalo is about the exact same position as the Stars. They've lost a boat-load of games in over time (16-17-9) and things are getting away from them.
Things are seemingly rosier for the Sabres, however. Lindy Ruff's former team. After a 5-8-4 start they're actually 11-9-5 in their last 25 games- 16 out of their last 25 they've earned points. That's not bad, and it has them trending up.
Most recently, however, they dropped a 5-2 decision to the Hurricanes and a 4-2 decision to the Lightning- The latter having scored twice on the power play in a very Stars-like effort on the PK.
They don't often eclipse 30 shots on goal this year- Having failed to do so 23 times already, though they did pour 38 on Carolina's net Friday night with 38 coming back their way in answer- It's at times a high event group .
If you could take something positive out that gut punch of a game on Saturday, it was the PK and Lindy Ruff agreed-
"We had desperation," Ruff told media. "We had blocked shots. There was a lot of desperation and our power play came out and gave us a big one at the end. It’s tough, though, because you have to stand here and answer why you lost the game. Sometimes it is hard to find what went well in a game that we desperately needed two points.”
OK, well- That kind of ended darkly, though the power play was good. How about this one?
"There were times that even his penalty was the same as the play that cost us the game-winning goal," Ruff described John Klingberg. "It cost us a penalty by hanging on too long and it cost us the game-winning goal by hanging on too long. It was a mistake at a different time of the game. It gave them some energy on their power play and it gave them a game-winning goal.”
That was rather serious as well, wasn't it? It's a rather serious time for these Stars, who are mere days away from a playoff spot moving into realms of mathematical improbability easily demonstrable by any random smattering of samples across the years.
The Sabres lineup:
- Anders Nilsson
- Linus Ulmark
From Stars PR:
The Dallas Stars and Buffalo Sabres meet on Monday afternoon for the first of two meetings during the 2016-17 season. Dallas was a perfect 2-0-0 against Buffalo last season and is riding a three-game winning streak against the Sabres (3-0-0). The Stars have collected points in seven of the last eight meetings (6-1-1) and three of the last four games played on the road at KeyBank Center (2-1-1). In the most recent game between the two clubs on Nov. 21, 2015, the Stars shut out the Sabres, 3-0, at American Airlines Center. Goaltender Antti Niemi posted the win and stopped all 22 shots that he faced on the evening. Captain Jamie Benn (2-0=2) and forward Tyler Seguin (0-2=2) each recorded a game-high two points, with forward Antoine Roussel (1-0=1) adding a goal. Over two games last season, Benn (2-1=3) and Seguin (1-2=3) both shared the club lead in points against Buffalo.
Forward Jason Spezza recorded an assist (0-1=1) on Saturday night against the Wild and has assists in two-straight games (0-2=2). The forward has assists in five of his last six games (0-5=5) and 12 points (2-10=12) over his last 11 games. Spezza ranks third on the team with 27 points (7-20=27), 18 of which (3-15=18) have come over his last 20 games. He ranks second on the club with a 52.9% (219-of-414) faceoff winning percentage. Spezza has nine points (3-6=9) in 15 road games this season, with four points (1-3=4) over his last four road games. The native of Toronto, Ont. is riding a two-game point streak vs. Buffalo (1-1=2), with points in four of his last five games against the Sabres (1-4=5). The forward has recorded a point in two consecutive games at KeyBank Center (1-1=2). Spezza leads all Stars skaters with 67 points (23-44=67) in 57 career games against Buffalo, his second-highest point total against any NHL opponent (most: 68 vs. Montreal).
KLING OF THE HILL
Defenseman John Klingberg registered a game-high three points (1-2=3) against Minnesota on Saturday and is riding a two-game point streak (2-2=4). The blueliner has eight points (4-4=8) over his last six games and 12 points (5-7=12) over his last 12 games. Klingberg leads all Stars defensemen and ranks fourth on the club with 26 points (7-19=26) in 42 games this season. Amongst League defensemen, he is tied for 11th in both points (26) and goals (7), while sharing 12th in assists (19). Klingberg ranks first on Dallas with 23:06 time on ice per game and ranks fourth with 57 blocked shots this season. He also paces all team blueliners with 18 takeaways in 2016-17. The native of Gothenburg, Sweden has points in three of his four career games vs. Buffalo (0-4=4).