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Sabres' Moulson in lineup; Stars' Ruff goes for 600

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- Buffalo Sabres left wing Matt Moulson did not participate in an optional morning skate Monday morning at American Airlines Center. However, Moulson, an ongoing subject of trade speculation ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday, will play his customary role on Buffalo's first line against the Dallas Stars on Monday night.

"The vast majority of the time we have optional skates in pregame skates and guys consider their options, so [Moulson] felt it'd be better if he didn't go back out there today," Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said.

Joining Moulson on the top line will be center Tyler Ennis, who has missed the Sabres' past two games with general body soreness.

"Oh, it's huge," Nolan said of Ennis' return. "He's one of our better players and especially the way he's been playing. If you look at the way Drew Stafford's been playing and Moulson, I think it's a direct impact the way their center iceman was playing. That was Tyler Ennis."

Chris Stewart, acquired along with forward William Carrier and goalie Jaroslav Halak in a trade with the St. Louis Blues on Friday that sent goalie Ryan Miller and forward Steve Ott to the Blues, will make his Sabres debut on their second line alongside Matt D'Agostini and Cody Hodgson.

"I'm excited for the fresh start here," Stewart said. "It's an opportunity to take advantage of and I'm going to show I can still play this game."

With Ennis returning to the top line, Ville Leino will drop down to center Buffalo's fourth line alongside Matt Ellis and Cody McCormick. That means Zenon Konopka is a likely scratch.

In the back, it appears John Scott will be paired with Christian Ehrhoff. Buffalo's other pairings figure to be Mike Weber and Tyler Myers plus Henrik Tallinder and Jamie McBain, which leaves Alexander Sulzer as a likely scratch.

Jhonas Enroth makes his third straight start in net for the Sabres.

Dallas coach Lindy Ruff, who spent much of his career coaching in Buffalo before being fired last February, is looking to become the 12th coach in NHL history to reach 600 wins.

"For me, I just want to win. I don't care if it's 550, 420, 601. We're in one hell of a battle here and the two points is really important to us," Ruff said. "We have a couple of games in hand that we have to take care of, and that's the most important thing."

Ruff will use the same forward lines from the Stars' 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. The defense pairings could also remain the same, though defenseman Brenden Dillon, who missed the loss to the Lightning with a lower-body injury, is listed as a game-time decision.

"He will take warm-ups," Ruff said of Dillon. "We're still hopeful that he may be able to go for us, but that's going to be a game-time decision."

Kari Lehtonen will start a sixth consecutive game in net for Dallas, in the final game of a four-game homestand.

Here are the projected lineups:


Matt MoulsonTyler EnnisDrew Stafford

Matt D'AgostiniCody HodgsonChris Stewart

Marcus FolignoZemgus GirgensonsBrian Flynn

Matt EllisVille LeinoCody McCormick

Christian EhrhoffJohn Scott

Mike Weber - Tyler Myers

Henrik TallinderJamie McBain

Jhonas Enroth

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Zenon Konopka, Alexander Sulzer

Injured: none


Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin

Erik Cole - Cody EakinRich Peverley

Antoine RousselVernon FiddlerRyan Garbutt

Ray Whitney - Shawn HorcoffAlex Chiasson

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley

Jordie BennSergei Gonchar

Kevin ConnautonAaron Rome

Kari Lehtonen

Dan Ellis

Scratched: none

Injured: Brenden Dillon (lower body), Stephane Robidas (leg)

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