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Dillon a Game-time Decision, Lehtonen Expected to Start in Goal

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Defenseman Brenden Dillon, who is dealing with a lower body injury, will be a game-time decision when the Dallas Stars play the Buffalo Sabres tonight at American Airlines Center.

“He will take warm-ups. We’re still hopeful that he may be able to go for us, but that’s going to be a game-time decision,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff.

Dillon, who missed Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay, practiced Sunday and then took part in this morning’s skate at the AAC.

“It feels better and better every day,” Dillon said. “Today felt better than yesterday and all I can say is how I feel and let the coach tell me if I’m in or not.”

Dillon was injured in the second period of Thursday’s game against Carolina, but played through the injury and finished the contest.

Kari Lehtonen was the first goaltender off the ice for the Stars this morning, a sign that he should get the start in tonight’s game.

The forward lines in this morning’s skate were the same as those used at the start of Saturday’s game, which included Rich Peverley skating on the right wing with center Cody Eakin and left wing Erik Cole.

Ruff shooting for win 600

Stars coach Lindy Ruff is sitting at 599 career wins and will become the 12th coach in NHL history to hit the 600-mark if the Stars top the Sabres tonight.

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

Asked if he knew he was approaching the milestone, Ruff said it was news to him.

“You’re making me aware of it,” Ruff said. “I hadn’t done the research, if that’s a good enough answer.”

Ruff began his NHL coaching career with Buffalo in 1997-98, and said he’s surprised he’s been around as long as he has and is approaching that 600th victory.

“I think you look back at day one and for me, I was hoping to get through the first year because it was a tough year and it was a tough start to my coaching career,” Ruff said. “And I think after we got through that first playoff series, I thought I had a chance to coach for a while in the league. You never expect to coach this long or stay in one place as long as you do and I’ve been lucky. I had a GM that supported me through some tough times and I think that was probably the most important thing.”

Sabres watch

Jhonas Enroth will start in goal for the Sabres and Jaroslav Halak, recently acquired from St. Louis, will serve as the backup. Chris Stewart, also acquired from St. Louis, will make his Sabres debut tonight. He is expected to play on a line with Cody Hodgson and Matt D’Agostini. Tyler Ennis, who has missed the last two games due to injury, will be back in the lineup tonight.

Quotable: Lindy Ruff on Alex Chiasson’s play since the break

“You know what, I see a guy that’s revitalized, has a lot of energy. The Carolina game, he had five A opportunities. He just needs one to go. I don’t know whether he needs to jump up and down and do some pirouettes or walk into the rink backwards, change his skates, change his stick, but something’s got to go. And I think when it does go he’ll be back on track. But the longer it goes, the more frustration is going to set in. But coming out of the break, he’s looked energized to me.”

Monday’s game

Who: Buffalo Sabres at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:00 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Network
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin
Erik ColeCody EakinRich Peverley
Antoine RousselVernon FiddlerRyan Garbutt
Ray WhitneyShawn HorcoffAlex Chiasson

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley
Jordie BennSergei Gonchar
Kevin Connauton- Aaron Rome

Kari Lehtonen
Dan Ellis

Sabres lineup

Matt Moulson – Tyler Ennis – Drew Stafford
Matt D’Agostini – Cody Hodgson – Chris Stewart
Marcus Foligno – Zemgus Girgensons – Brian Flynn
Matt Ellis – Ville Leino – Cody McCormick

Christian Ehrhoff – John Scott
Mike Weber - Tyler Myers
Henrik Tallinder – Jamie McBain

Jhonas Enroth
Jaroslav Halak

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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