Dallas Stars at Montreal Canadiens
Tuesday, October 29 @ 6:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
In the wake of an emotional 4-3 win in Buffalo against the Sabres on Monday night, the Stars (5-5-1) head to Montreal to take on the Canadiens for the first time since February 2012.
After coaching the Sabres for 15 seasons, Lindy Ruff returned to Buffalo for the first time since being fired from the club a season ago. Despite the Sabres late game surge to make it 4-3 in the third, the Stars defense rallied to secure their first road victory since October 11.
"It was awesome,” Ruff said. “I said it felt really strange coming back and I thought we came out really good. We made a couple mistakes and they clawed their way back. It turned out to be a darn good hockey game.”
Erik Cole's return to the top line alongside forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin proved to be a success in Monday's contest. Combining a total of 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists), the trio appeared to be too much for the Sabres young defensive core to handle.
“We played together in the preseason and we know each other’s games a lot better now,” said Seguin, who had one goal and one assist. “Look what happened when Pevs (Rich Peverley) came to (our line) in Winnipeg, we had another good game. Tonight, I thought we played pretty well.“
Dallas was given a four minute power play after slashing and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties were called on former Star and current Sabres captain, Steve Ott. After a flurry of keeps by Jordie Benn on the blue-line, Alex Goligoski would eventually record his first tally of the season on the second half of the power play. Rookie Valeri Nichushkin was awarded the primary assist.
“I hold myself accountable for taking a bad penalty and costing us a goal tonight,” Ott said. “That’s simply not good enough, but for the rest of the boys, I thought our effort was really, really solid tonight.”
Kari Lehtonen stopped 22 of 25 shots on goal for the Stars in his third consecutive start for Dallas. Since missing five games with a lower body injury, the Stars have posted a 2-0-1 record.
“I think we were dominating the first 30 minutes pretty well, but it’s the NHL. Every team is pretty good. They made a couple plays, we had a couple turnovers. They got close, but I think we did well in the third to close it out," said Lehtonen.
The Stars are likely to stick to the status quo tonight against the Habs as they look o improve on only accumulating 25 shots against the Sabres, a season low thus far for Dallas.
Backup goaltender Dan Ellis could make the start in net on the backend of a back-to-back on the road, but no decision has been released just yet.
Tonight marks the first of two meetings between the Stars and Canadiens this season. Montreal currently leads the all-time series against Dallas with a record of 70-32-21.
The Canadiens (7-5-0) welcome the Stars into Montreal coming off a 2-0 victory against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden Monday night. Goaltender Peter Budaj stopped all 27 shots as Tomas Plekanec and Alex Galchenyuk tallied to spoil the Rangers' home-opener at MSG.
“It was great to see the guys bounce back,” said Budaj, who was making his second start of the season. “They did the little things right. It was a great team victory.”
Budaj's 27 saves in the game were anchored by 28 blocked shots the Habs defensive unit. The shutout improved the Canadiens goals against average to the fourth best in the NHL (1.83).
Carey Price is expected to start in net tonight for Montreal.
Forwards Daniel Briere (concussion), Travis Moen (face), Max Pacioretty (hamstring), Brandon Prust (upper body) and defenseman Davis Drewiske (upper body) are out.