The Dallas Stars return home tonight for a 1999 Stanley Cup Final rematch against the Buffalo Sabres. A win will help Dallas maintain second place in the Central Division, push their 2020 record to seven victories in eight games, and eight in their last 10. Most importantly, two more points mean valuable breathing room in the ever-tightening Central Division as the season enters the home stretch.
There are several reasons to be optimistic. The most obvious is Dallas’ swing through California and Colorado that resulted in three wins in four games. No, the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, and Anaheim Ducks are not exactly a murderer’s row these days, but three games in four days is tough no matter the opposition. While the win against Colorado falls firmly in the “any landing you can walk away from” category, those points spend the same as any other.
A potent power play helps. One goal on two chances (thanks video replay!) leaves the Stars 8-for-17 since the calendar turned. That’s a blistering pace, and a critical one, too, considering goals remain at a premium. Dallas has scored just 10 goals in their last four games, and remains mystifyingly snakebitten. Goaltending has acted as antidote though. Ben Bishop made 41 saves against the Colorado Avalanche, and Anton Khudobin leads the entire NHL with a .932 save percentage.
They could need the help. The Sabres sit fifth in the Atlantic Division, and are just 4-6-0 in their last 10 games. However, they have won two in a row, and boast the dynamic Jack Eichel (61 points which is good for eighth in the league). As illustrated by Dallas’ 2-1 loss against the Sharks, there is no such thing as an automatic win in today’s NHL.
Dallas Stars Lines
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Roope Hintz - Joe Pavelski - Joe Kiviranta
Andrew Cogliano - Jason Dickinson - Blake Comeau
Denis Gurianov - Justin Dowling - Corey Perry
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak - Miro Heiskanen
Andrej Sekera - Roman Polak
Ben Bishop in net.
Buffalo Sabres Lines
Zemgus Girgensons - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart
Conor Sheary - Marcus Johansson - Michael Frolik
Johan Larsson - Curtis Lazar - Kyle Okposo
Evan Rodrigues - Jimmy Vesey
Lawrence Pilut - Rasmus Ristolainen
Jake McCabe - Henri Jokiharju
Rasums Dahlin - Brandon Montour
Puck Drop: 7:30 p.m. CST
Location: American Airlines Center (Dallas, TX)
Radio: 1310 AM / 96.7 FM The Ticket
Online: Fox Sports Go app / theticket.com