Stars hope to snap home slide at Sabres' expense
SABRES (3-6-2) at STARS (5-4-0)
TV: MSG-B (HD), TXA 21 (HD)
This is the only meeting of the 2010-11 season between these clubs. Tyler Myers scored 55 seconds into the first period and went on to add 3 assists as the Sabres earned a 5-3 win over the Stars on March 10 at HSBC Arena in last season's lone matchup. The game was tied 3-3 after 20 minutes before Thomas Vanek netted the game-winner midway through the second period.
Buffalo is off to a slow start after winning the Northeast Division last season, while Dallas has come careening back down to earth after a 4-0-0 start. The Stars would seem to have an advantage, as they've been home all week and had Friday off while the Sabres had a tough game in Atlanta and then had to travel.
On the bright side, Buffalo came out of Friday night with a point when it easily could have had nothing. Derek Roy scored with 7.3 seconds remaining to force overtime in Atlanta, but the Thrashers handed the Sabres a 4-3 overtime defeat on a Dustin Byfuglien goal. It was a game the Sabres once led 2-0 on first-period tallies by Tim Connolly and Jordan Leopold, but they gave up the next three and needed the late rally just to salvage something from the night.
"It was a nice shot. (Byfuglien) has lots of speed," goalie Ryan Miller said in describing the winning goal, which came off an end-to-end rush. "I didn't see how he wanted to set it up. He just let the puck go. He had a long time to make a decision."
There's no place like home, or so the saying goes. It hasn't been that way for Dallas on a six-game homestand that has reached its midpoint without the Stars winning a game. They were blanked 1-0 by the Predators, then fell to the Ducks and Kings by identical 5-2 scores. With the Sabres, Penguins and Coyotes visiting American Airlines Center before the Stars hit the road for three straight, the team wants to get things turned back around quickly.
"An opportunity has slipped by us here," defenseman Matt Niskanen
said. "The last three games, we've liked the way we've played, but we're not doing enough good things to get wins. It's frustrating, we're getting good chances, and goalies on other teams are making good saves, but that's not an excuse for us. We've got to find ways to get points and we've got to get this turned around right away."
Roy, who leads the Sabres and is tied for fourth in the NHL with 13 points, has 1 goal and 5 assists during a three-game points streak. … Brad Richards
of the Stars is right behind him with 12 points, including a goal Thursday against the Kings.
Buffalo forward Jason Pominville failed a neuro-psych test Friday, meaning his return from a concussion won't come just yet. … Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas
served his one-game suspension for a hit on Anaheim's Matt Beleskey and is eligible to make his return to the lineup Saturday.
Following Roy, the Sabres have a five-way tie for second in scoring as Connolly, Vanek, Leopold, Drew Stafford and Tyler Ennis each have 7 points. … Niskanen and forward Steve Ott
led the Stars with six hits apiece in their last game.
Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff has to be frustrated with his team's poor start. He made captain Craig Rivet a healthy scratch on Friday against Atlanta, making room for fellow defenseman Shaone Morrisonn to return after missing six games with a groin injury.
"I put a lot of thought into scratching Craig," Ruff said. "We are going to play the guys who are playing the best. Right now, we are 3-6-2. We got a point and if the six guys out there are playing well, they're going to stay in the game."