Anders Lindback is expected to get the start in goal tonight when the Dallas Stars take on the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center.
Lindback is just back from a conditioning assignment with the Texas Stars of the AHL. He played two games, going 1-0-1 and stopping 70 of 74 shots.
“It was fun,” said Lindback. “It’s nice to get some playing time. We got most of the points, disappointed with the shootout loss, but other than that it was good.”
Lindback is 2-7-0 in the NHL this season with a 3.79 goals-against average and .875 save percentage, but he’s played well in his last two appearances, stopping 54 of 58 shots.
“The plan was to get him in [this weekend],” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of Lindback. “The reason we sent him down is that we planned on playing him and we’re going to stick with the plan.”
This will be Lindback’s first NHL appearance since Jan. 15. For Kari Lehtonen, it will end a stretch of eight straight starts. Lehtonen is tied for second in the NHL in the number of games started (44) and ranks third in minutes played (2,513).
“There’s no doubt there has been a heavy load on Lehts and maybe a break will do him good,” Ruff said.
Except for the change at goaltender, it appears the Stars will go with the same lineup as Thursday’s game against Tampa Bay. That means Brett Ritchie and David Schlemko are expected to be healthy scratches.
Saturday’s game kicks off a three-game road trip for the Stars, who played 12 of their next 18 games away from home. Dallas is 7-2-2 in its last 11 road games.
“We’re going to have to [continue to play well on the road] because a majority of our games are on the road the second half of the season,” said Stars forward Erik Cole. “We have a team we haven’t seen and then tough games in New York and Boston. There are no easy nights. We are going to have to bring the work and make sure everyone is playing for one another.”
Jhonas Enroth is the expected starter in goal for the Sabres. Enroth is 12-20-1 with a 3.34 goals-against average and .901 save percentage, but he has stopped 59 of 63 shots the past two games. The Sabres, who own the worst record in the NHL at 15-34-3, have just two wins in their last 21 games. They’ve lost six straight at home.
Despite the Sabres’ woes, the Stars aren’t taking them lightly.
“They’ve got some good size. They’ve got some guys that are heavy on the puck,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “They might not create as many chances on a nightly basis, but this is a situation where you can’t take anything for granted because they have already shown they can beat good teams.”
Who: Dallas Stars at Buffalo Sabres
Where: First Niagara Center
When: 6 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus (Channel Guide)
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Patrick Eaves
Erik Cole – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Jyrki Jokipakka – Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Jason Demers
Scratched: Brett Ritchie, David Schlemko
Injured: Travis Moen (lower body), Valeri Nichushkin (hip), Patrik Nemeth (arm)
Sabres projected lineup
Chris Stewart – Zemgus Girgensons – Tyler Ennis
Matt Moulson – Torrey Mitchell – Brian Gionta
Cody Hodgson – Brian Flynn – Drew Stafford
Nicolas Deslauriers – Matt Ellis – Patrick Kaleta
Josh Gorges – Tyler Myers
Nikita Zadorov – Rasmus Ristolainen
Mike Weber – Tyson Strachan
Scratched: Andre Benoit, Andrej Meszaros
Injured: Marcus Foligno (hand), Cody McCormick (blood clot)
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 DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.