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Stars' Ruff makes return to Buffalo

by Eric Goodman /

STARS (4-5-1) at SABRES (2-10-1)


Last 10: Dallas 4-5-1; Buffalo 2-7-1

Season series: This is the first of two games between these clubs. The Buffalo Sabres are 7-2-0 in their past nine games against the Dallas Stars.

Big story: Stars coach Lindy Ruff returns to Buffalo to face his former team for the first time since being fired by the Sabres on Feb. 20, 2013. Ruff was in his 15th season with Buffalo when he was let go, making him the longest-tenured coach in the NHL at the time. Sabres captain Steve Ott plays against his former team for the first time since being traded from Dallas to Buffalo in the 2012 offseason. The Sabres have five wins and a tie in their last six home games against Dallas. The last time the Stars won in Buffalo was in 1999 and they skated around the rink with the Stanley Cup afterwards.

Team Scope:

Stars: In addition to the winless streak in Buffalo, Dallas has dropped every road game this season since a win against the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 11. The Stars will look to avoid a sixth straight road loss, while attempting to build off two strong showings at home last week that earned them three points. While Dallas did manage a point in a 2-1 shootout loss against the visiting Jets on Saturday, coach Ruff wasn't happy with the way his team started the game.

"In the first period we resembled the team that practiced [Saturday] morning," Ruff said. "We weren't crisp [Saturday] morning and we didn't come out crisp, and I thought that hurt us."

Sabres: Buffalo began to look towards the future Sunday night, when it traded leading scorer Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders in exchange for left wing Matt Moulson, a first-round pick at the 2014 NHL Draft and a second-round selection in 2015.

Moulson, 29, scored 30 or more goals three straight seasons while skating alongside John Tavares. He had 15 goals and 29 assists in 47 games last season. Moulson can become an unrestricted free agent in July.

With Sunday’s trade, the Sabres will now have a combined 17 first- and second-round picks over a four-year span from 2012-2015 – the most in the 43-year history of the Sabres’ franchise.

Who's Hot: Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen is 3-0-1 in his last four starts with a 0.75 goals-against average.

Injury Report: For the Stars, forward Ryan Garbutt is serving a five-game suspension for a hit against the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 20. He is eligible to return Sunday, Nov. 3. ... Defenseman Mike Weber is the latest Sabre to get bitten by the injury bug, being placed on injured reserve Saturday with a thumb injury. Defenseman Henrik Tallinder is questionable with an undisclosed injury, while forwards Ville Leino (ribs) and Corey Tropp (broken jaw) are out indefinitely. Forward John Scott remains suspended indefinitely as he awaits a disciplinary hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety in regards to a hit Oct. 23 against the Boston Bruins.

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