Dallas at Buffalo
When: 1:00 PM
ET, Monday, January 16, 2017
Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York
Two teams that have yet to sustain solid play at both ends of the ice on a consistent basis this season meet Monday afternoon, when the Dallas Stars visit the Buffalo Sabres. The Stars have won only two of their last seven games after a strong 4-0-1 stretch while Buffalo got off to a promising 3-0-1 start this month before surrendering nine goals in losses at Tampa Bay and Carolina.
Dallas battled back from a four-goal deficit in the first period to tie the game Saturday before Jason Zucker scored with 6:45 to go, giving Minnesota a 5-4 victory. “When they got that fifth goal, it was crushing,” Stars defenseman Dan Hamhuis told reporters. “It was too bad, because we were pretty fired up and the fans were fired up. … It was really disappointing to lose that game.” The Sabres seemed to be making headway by scoring 15 goals during their point streak to start the calendar year, but two tallies in each of the losses to the Lightning and Hurricanes halted their momentum. “It’s small details that make the difference in games, and it could be details that’s the difference if you win or lose,” Buffalo goaltender Anders Nilsson told reporters. “We need to regroup here after these two games, talk about it and find a better way to win.”
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Dallas), MSG (Buffalo)
ABOUT THE STARS (18-18-8): While Dallas entered Sunday in the bottom five of the league in goals-against average (3.05), inconsistencies in many areas have led to its uneven first half of the season. Captain Jamie Benn has scored only 10 goals in 40 games after recording at least 34 in each of the previous three seasons - including a career-high 41 in 2015-16. Tyler Seguin leads the way with 16 tallies and 43 points (398 in his career) and has posted six goals and five assists over his last 10 games while Jason Spezza has notched 12 points in his last 11 contests.
ABOUT THE SABRES (16-17-9): Most of the issues have been in the offensive end of the rink for Buffalo, which was 27th in the league in scoring (2.29) through Saturday but could get a boost if shifty forward Tyler Ennis returns on Monday. Ennis (groin), who has registered three 20-goal seasons, has been out since Nov. 11 and missed all but 23 games in 2015-16 due to injury. Kyle Okposo tops the team with 12 goals – one better than Evander Kane – and shares the lead in points with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (24 assists) and Sam Reinhart (nine goals) at 27.
1. Buffalo entered Sunday last in the league on the penalty kill (74.2 percent) – one spot behind of Dallas (75.2).
2. The Stars are 6-1-1 in the last eight meetings and outscored the Sabres 6-1 in a pair of victories last season.
3. Buffalo's Robin Lehner (illness) appears ready to go after the team sent fellow G Linus Ullmark and RW Justin Bailey to Rochester of the American Hockey League.
PREDICTION: Stars 5, Sabres 3
Stats and Records