Puck Drop: 3:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Stars Blog: Defending Big D
Know Your Opponent
Record: (1-4-1) | 3 PTS
Last 10: 1-4-1
Division Ranking: 5th in Central Division
Conference Ranking: 12th in Western Conference
PP: 27th (5.0%)
PK: 10th (84.6%)
What to Watch
1. I have the POWER!
Buffalo’s power play is hitting at a top tier rate right now, which was featured in a piece on Die By the Blade this week. Dallas? Not so much. With only on goal in 20 tries, the Stars’ power play is a paltry five percent. It’s so awful that AP standards won’t even allow for that stat to be written as a number.
The stars are second-worst in the NHL with 26 times shorthanded, and have allowed four goals. This is a component of the Dallas game that Buffalo can exploit at least once, and could make a huge difference in the matchup.
2. Begin again
Rasmus Dahlin was chasing a pretty cool record. He snapped a four-game point streak against Florida, ending up one game shy of tying the record for consecutive games with at least a point by teenage defenders. The good news is that there are still 77 games in the season and this afternoon is a brand new day for Dahlin. The mark of five games seems easily within reach, so hitting that restart button and getting back to work immediately would give the team a nice boost.
3. Get low
Real down low. Right up in their faces.
The Stars’ goaltenders are awful in high-danger situations. According to Hockey Reference, Dallas has a very friendly 88.4 save percentage in high-danger situations. For reference, the Ottawa Senators, who are below the Stars in the standings, hold a stout 89.7. Arizona, who is just above Dallas, has a(n actually very good) 94.9 save percentage under pressure. Dallas is awful in the places that Buffalo can easily take advantage of.
In several ways, Dallas is weakest where this iteration of the Sabres is the strongest. It’s been evident in the early going that new coach Ralph Kruger is adept at strategizing for exactly these situations, and it would be surprising if he failed to do so in this instance.
Victor Olofsson - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart
Jeff Skinner - Marcus Johansson - Vladimir Sobotka
Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo
Jimmy Vesey - Casey Mittelstadt - Evan Rodrigues
Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen
Marco Scandella - Henri Jokiharju
Rasmus Dahlin - Colin Miller
Starting Goaltender (projected): Carter Hutton
Jamie Benn-Tyler Seguin-Alexander Radulov
Mattias Janmark-Roope Hintz-Joe Pavelski
Jason Cogliano-Radek Faksa-Joel L’Esperance
Andrew Caamano-Rhett Gardner-Nicholas Dowling
Esa Lindell-Miro Heiskanen
Andrej Sekera-John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak-Joel Fedun
Starting Goaltender: Ben Bishop