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Texas-Sized Stand Off

Sabres begin their roadtrip against the Central Division leading Stars.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Game 46

Buffalo Sabres (23-19-3) vs. Dallas Stars (28-13-7)

Puck Drop: 8:30 PM | American Airlines Center | Dallas, TX

TV: MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Stars Blog: Defending Big D

Know Your Opponent

Dallas Stars

Record: 28-13-7 | 63 PTS

Division Ranking: 1st in Central Division

Last Game: 4-0 Win vs Arizona Coyotes

PP: 6th (25.7%)

PK: 4th (83.2%)

What to Watch

1. Slowing Down Robertson

The Sabres have had the privilege of seeing Tage Thompson breakout as a star NHL center this year. The Dallas Stars are having a similar experience with Jason Robertson. After posting 79 points in 74 games last year, he has taken his play to another level with 64 points in only 48 games so far. He is particularly deadly on the power play, helping Dallas sport the 6th best conversion percentage in the league with 24 points on the man advantage. The ageless wonder, Joe Pavelski, is having a great season and is 2nd on the team in points, but even he can’t keep up with Robertson’s production as there is a 19-point gap between the two linemates. If the Sabres want to keep up with the Stars, they will need to limit the damage done by the Stars’ top line.

2. Road Warriors

In past years, the Sabres struggled to perform well on the road. Last year they only had 15 wins in 41 road games that season. This year has been a different story. Sporting a record of 12-7-1 on the road, they have the second-best road win percentage in the Atlantic division. Monday starts a crucial 4-game road trip against four Central Division foes, including the top 3 teams in the division. Buffalo will need to shake off any jet lag and be prepared for some highly competitive hockey. If they can continue their success on the road, this could be a defining week for the Sabres’ playoff hopes.

3. Clash of Young Defensemen

Since the two defensemen broke into the league in the ‘18-19 season, Rasmus Dahlin and Miro Heiskanen have been compared to each other constantly. They’re both highly skilled, well-rounded, left shooting defenders. Heiskanen’s breakout came during the Stars’ 2020 playoff run where he notched 26 points in 27 games and currently has 39 points in 45 games. Dahlin is currently experiencing his own breakout season. With 52 points in 44 games, the All-Star snub has gotten some well-deserved Norris consideration. Since both players are relied on to win the possession battle when they’re on the ice, whoever is able to more effectively control play, limit chances against, and catalyze their team’s offense will be crucial to the final outcome.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner - Tage Thompson - Alex Tuch

Jack Quinn - Dylan Cozens - JJ Peterka

Casey Mittelstadt - Tyson Jost - Victor Olofsson

Zemgus Girgensons - Peyton Krebs - Kyle Okposo

Defense

Mattias Samuelsson - Rasmus Dahlin

Owen Power – Henri Jokiharju

Jacob Bryson – Ilya Lyubushkin

Starting Goalie: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

Dallas Stars

Forwards

Jason Robertson - Tyler Seguin - Joe Pavelski

Jamie Benn - Wyatt Johnston - Ty Dellandrea

Fredrik Olofsson - Radek Faksa - Denis Gurianov

Mason Marchment – Luke Glendening – Joel Kiviranta

Defense

Miro Heiskanen - Colin Miller

Esa Lindell - Jani Hakanpaa

Joel Hanley – Ryan Suter

Starting Goalie: Scott Wedgewood