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Sabres at Stars preview: A family affair

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Two pairs of brothers and a family vacation are center stage tonight in the Sabres’ last game before the All-Star break.

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Game #48

Buffalo Sabres (20-18-9) at Dallas Stars (19-20-10)

Puck drop: 8:30 p.m. EST | American Airlines Center | Dallas, TX

TV: MSG, FS-SW | Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation’s Stars Blog: Defending Big D

Three Questions

1. Will we see more contributions for the Sabres blue line?

For the Buffalo Sabres, getting offensive contributions from any player not named Rasmus Ristolainen this season has been rare, but in their last game against Nashville, both Zach Bogosian and Cody Franson scored to help lead the team to their comeback victory.

If the Sabres defense starts contributing more at the other end of the ice, it would be a huge boon to a team that, while they are scoring more since Eichel’s return, is still very top-heavy as far as offensive production goes. Franson is now on a three-game point streak and it would be just lovely to get that up to four tonight.

2. Which pair of brothers will help their team to victory?

Two pairs of bros are facing each other tonight - Cal and Ryan O’Reilly for the Sabres, and Jamie and Jordie Benn for the Stars. The fact that this road trip included players’ parents just adds to the family drama (or family hugs) that will be taking place in Dallas tonight.

3. Will the Sabres continue their dominance of the Western Conference?

Terry Pegula may want to petition the NHL to play in the Western Conference next season seeing as how the Sabres have a 9-3-2 record against opponents from the West, and are 6-0-1 in their last seven games. A win tonight would mark the team’s first four-game winning streak since December 2014, and would be a great way to send the team in to the All-Star Break.

Projected Buffalo Lines

63 Tyler Ennis - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo
82 Marcus Foligno - 15 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinhart
Evander Kane - 28 Zemgus Girgensons - 12 Brian Gionta
48 William Carrier - 19 Cal O’Reilly - 26 Matt Moulson

77 Dmitry Kulikov - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
47 Zach Bogosian - 6 Cody Franson
41 Justin Falk - 38 Taylor Fedun

Goal: 31 Anders Nilsson