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Stars-Sabres Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Saturday, November 21

7:00 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars (16-4-0) won their fourth straight game, defeating the Washington Capitals 3-2 at Verizon Center Thursday night. Jason Spezza picked off a Jason Chimera pass and scored to snap a 2-2 tie with 8:50 remaining in the third period.

"I don't think we played our best game today but we found a way to win," said Stars defenseman John Klingberg, who had two assists in the game. "That's one of our strengths right now.”

The Stars, who are 7-1-0 in their past eight games and 10-2-0 in their past 12, moved into the top spot in the NHL with 32 points. The Stars are off to the best 20-game start in franchise history.

Saturday’s game kicks off a three-game homestand for the Stars who also play Ottawa and Vancouver. First up is Buffalo, a team the Stars saw earlier in the week.

“We know we’re going to be in for another [tough game],” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “They played a good game [Thursday] night in St. Louis. We’ve already looked at it. They outchanced them. They had a couple 5-on-3s. I thought they skated really well. Their defense is big, it’s strong, it’s got long reach. And up front, they’ve got some guys that can skate. It’s a totally different team than we saw last year.”

The Stars didn’t practice Friday. Ruff said a couple players were sent home due to illness.

Injuries: None

The Sabres (8-9-2) lost 3-2 in a shootout at St. Louis Thursday. Blues forward Alexander Steen scored the only goal of the shootout, sending the Sabres to their second straight defeat. Both St. Louis goals in regulation came on the power play. Buffalo was 0-4 on the power play and missed on two 5-on-3 chances.

“It's frustrating,” Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly said. “I thought we had a good jumping start. We have to be better in the PK. It's my responsibility as well. Power play again; two 5-on-3's, that's a must-convert. That's on me. I had multiple chances to bury them.”

The Sabres have picked up points in five of their past six games (3-1-2).

Saturday’s game wraps up a two-game road trip for the Sabres, and it is the third of five straight games against the Central Division. The Sabres are 0-1-1 in the first two, including Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to Dallas in Buffalo.

Injuries: D Mark Pysyk (lower body) is day to day. F Zemgus Girgensons (upper body), D Mike Weber (knee), G Robin Lehner (ankle) and F Cody McCormick (blood clot) are out.

*This is the second and final meeting between the Stars and Sabres this season.

*Dallas won the first meeting, defeating the Sabres, 3-1, in Buffalo on Tuesday.

*The Stars are 7-2-0 at home.

*The Sabres are 4-3-1 on the road.

*The Stars are 10-3-0 vs. the Eastern Conference.

*The Sabres are 1-1-2 vs. the Western Conference.

*The Stars lead the NHL in goal scoring, averaging 3.55 per game.

*The Sabres have allowed two goals or fewer in seven of their past nine games.

*Buffalo has scored four goals in the past three games.

*The Stars have allowed five goals in the past three games.

*The Stars rank second in the league on the power play at 28.3 percent.

*The Sabres are tied for third on the power play at 22.6 percent.

*The Stars have three of the top four scorers in the NHL: Tyler Seguin (28 points); Jamie Benn (27 points); John Klingberg (22 points).

*Ryan O’Reilly leads Buffalo in scoring with 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists).

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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