Sabres begin their roadtrip against the Central Division leading Stars.
Puck Drop: 8:30 PM | American Airlines Center | Dallas, TX
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Stars Blog: Defending Big D
Know Your Opponent
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.
Jeff Skinner – Tage Thompson – Alex Tuch
Jack Quinn – Dylan Cozens – JJ Peterka
Casey Mittelstadt – Tyson Jost – Victor Olofsson
Zemgus Girgensons – Peyton Krebs – Kyle Okposo
Mattias Samuelsson – Rasmus Dahlin
Owen Power – Henri Jokiharju
Jacob Bryson – Ilya Lyubushkin
Starting Goalie: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen
Jason Robertson – Tyler Seguin – Joe Pavelski
Jamie Benn – Wyatt Johnston – Ty Dellandrea
Fredrik Olofsson – Radek Faksa – Denis Gurianov
Mason Marchment – Luke Glendening – Joel Kiviranta
Miro Heiskanen – Colin Miller
Esa Lindell – Jani Hakanpaa
Joel Hanley – Ryan Suter
Starting Goalie: Scott Wedgewood