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Stars-Sabres Preview

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Dallas Stars at Buffalo Sabres
Monday, January 16
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: KLIF 570 AM

About the Stars

The Stars (18-18-8) lost 5-4 to Minnesota Saturday at American Airlines Center. The Stars rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the first period to tie the game 4-4 in the third. But just two minutes after the Stars drew even, Minnesota's Jason Zucker scored the game-winning goal when a rebound bounced off his shoulder and into the net.

"It's really disappointing," said Stars defenseman Dan Hamhuis. "Obviously, we didn't get off to a great start and put ourselves into a huge hole, but we worked our way out of it, and it made for a real exciting game there. When they got that fifth goal, it was crushing. It was too bad because we were pretty fired up and the fans were fired up about us coming back. It was really disappointing to lose this game."

The Stars fell to 2-4-1 in their past seven games.

The Stars held a short practice Sunday morning in Frisco before departing for Buffalo. Cody Eakin and Patrick Eaves did not skate. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said it was a maintenance day for both players.

Monday's game kicks off a three-game road trip for the Stars, who are 6-11-4 away from home.

"Our road record hasn't been good enough," Ruff said. "The only way to get this thing going on a consistent basis is to be a winner on the road."

Injuries: D Jamie Oleksiak (hand), C/LW Mattias Janmark (knee) and RW Ales Hemsky (hip) are on injured reserve.

About the Sabres

The Sabres (16-17-9) are coming off a 5-2 loss at Carolina Friday. It was the second straight loss for the Sabres, who fell 4-2 at Tampa Bay the night before. In both games Buffalo scored first and then gave up three straight goals.

"Same stuff," Sabres forward Brian Gionta told the team's official site. "Same stuff that's been happening. Turnovers, not playing with enough urgency. It's the same thing; it's a broken record."

The back-to-back losses came on the heels of a four-game points streak (3-0-1) for the Sabres.

Goaltender Robin Lehner, who had missed three games due to illness, practiced on Sunday. Forward Tyler Ennis, who has been out with a groin injury, practiced Sunday and will be a gameday decision.

Mondays' game is the first of a back-to-back for Buffalo, which plays at Toronto on Tuesday.

Injuries: G Robin Lehner (illness) is probable. F Tyler Ennis (groin) is questionable. D Josh Gorges (hip) is out. F Cody McCormick (blood clots), D Dmitry Kulikov (back) and F Johan Larsson (wrist) are on injured reserve.  

Season Series

*This is the first of two meetings between the Stars and Sabres this season.

*The Stars were 2-0-0 vs. Buffalo last season.

*The Stars are 5-1-0 vs. Buffalo the past three seasons.  

Statistical Tidbits

*The Stars are 6-11-4 on the road.

*The Sabres are 9-8-3 at home.

*The Stars are 2-6-3 vs. the Eastern Conference including 1-2-1 vs. the Atlantic Division.

*The Sabres are 7-3-2 vs. the Western Conference including 3-2-1 vs. the Central Division.

*The Stars have scored 3 or more goals in 9 of their past 12 games.

*The Sabres have allowed 3 or more goals in 10 of their past 12 games.

*The Sabres rank 30th in the NHL in penalty killing at 74.2 percent.

*The Stars rank 29th in penalty killing at 75.2 percent.

*Stars defenseman John Klingberg has registered 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in his past 12 games.

*Sabres forward Sam Reinhart has 12 points (3 goals, 9 assists) in his past 12 games.

This story was not subject to 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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