Stars-Sabres Preview: Ruff Returns to Buffalo
Dallas Stars at Buffalo Sabres
Monday, October 28 @ 6:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
The Stars (4-5-1) are set to begin an eight of ten game road stretch as they return to Buffalo to take on the Sabres for the first time since February 2012.
Dropping four of five games on the road this season, the Stars have been outscored a total of 20-12.
''The No. 1 thing on my mind is our (1-4) road record,'' said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. ''We’ve got to become a better road team.”
Ruff returns to Buffalo for the first time as a member of an opposing team after serving 16 years behind the Sabres bench. As a player, he was Buffalo's second round selection in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft and would be named the captain of the Sabres in 1986.
“I’m sure he’s going to have mixed emotions going back there,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “Obviously, we want to bring out a strong effort for him and we want to get a big two points to start off our road trip."
Ruff is the Sabres' all-time winningest coach with a record of 571-432-162 and is second on the NHL list for wins with one team behind Al Arbour of the New York Islanders (740). Ruff was inducted into the Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
''I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about it,'' Ruff said. ''It's going to be great walking in the building, say hello to old faces. I've got a lot of good friends there, good memories. It'll be a good day."
The Stars are coming off a 2-1 shootout loss to Winnipeg on Saturday, snapping a three game winning streak at home.
“We need to play a full 60 minutes and give ourselves a chance to win the hockey game,” said Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas. “We can’t beat ourselves, and that’s what we’ve done a few times."
As some of the players continue to battle illness, the team recalled forward Travis Morin from the Texas Stars (AHL) on Sunday for insurance.
“We’ve got a few guys that are under the weather, just flu-like,” said Ruff. “(Alex) Chiasson wasn’t even here today. He’s probably the worst of the group and we had a couple other guys that didn’t feel well yesterday, so we decided to try to rest most of the guys that weren’t feeling good.”
Morin currently leads the AHL in scoring with 18 points (8 goals, 10 assists) in eight games. The 29-year old played three games with Dallas in 2010-11, recording zero points.
Goaltender Kari Lehtonen is expected to make his third consecutive start for the Stars since missing five games due to a lower body injury. He stopped 37 of 38 shots in Saturday's loss against the Jets.
Monday will mark the first of two meetings between the Stars and Sabres this season. The Stars have not won a regular season game in Buffalo since 1997 and trail the all-time series against the Sabres (41-52-19).
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Erik Cole
Ray Whitney - Cody Eakin - Alex Chiasson
Valeri Nichuhskin - Shawn Horcoff - Rich Peverley
Lane MacDermid - Vernon Fiddler - Antoine Roussel
Brenden Dillon - Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley - Sergei Gonchar
Alex Goligoski - Jordie Benn
Dan Ellis (backup)
D Kevin Connauton, F Travis Morin, F Ryan Garbutt (suspended)
With the NHL's worst record (2-10-1), the Sabres made a major trade Sunday evening by sending forward Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders. In exchange, Buffalo acquires left wing Matt Moulson along with New York's first-round pick in 2014 and a 2015 second-round pick.
Vanek is the fifth-leading goal scorer in franchise history (254), pacing the team in that category in six of the last seven years that Ruff was behind Buffalo's bench.
Moulson, meanwhile, scored at least 30 goals in each of the NHL's last three 82-game seasons and had six through his first 11 games with the Islanders this season.
''It's part of the business, said Sabres general manager Darcy Regier. ''Matt will address our current needs and provide us with support, leadership, scoring. With where our hockey club is, the first- and second-round picks are important.''
Sabres captain and former Dallas Star Steve Ott will face his old teammates for the first time since being traded to the Sabres in July 2012.
“I talked to him this morning. Obviously he is excited to play against us, too. It will be fun,” Stars defenseman Trevor Daley told the Stars official website. “A couple of us will probably get dinner with him tonight. He’ll feed us and then we’ll try to put him through the end boards tomorrow night."
Ott was drafted by Dallas in the first round (25th overall) of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft and served 11 seasons with the Stars.
"It’s bittersweet, obviously, because I loved my time in Dallas because the organization was so great to my upbringing and my career,” Ott said. “I have some great friends over there, I have some friends for life over there and that’s more important than anything else.”
Defenseman Mike Weber (upper body) is out.