Stars aim to continue winning ways vs. Sabres

( – The surging Dallas Stars hope to give their fading
playoff chances another boost when they host the basement-dwelling Buffalo
Sabres on Monday.

Dallas has won five of six and seven of its last nine games, but the hot
streak likely comes a little too late to get the club back to the playoffs for
a second straight season. The Stars enter Monday eight points out of a
postseason berth in the Western Conference with only 10 games remaining.

Lindy Ruff’s club won for a second straight time with Saturday’s 4-0 win over
Chicago. Dallas is 2-1-0 on a four-game homestand that began with a 3-0
setback to St. Louis on March 15.

Kari Lehtonen turned aside all 33 shots he faced for his fifth shutout of the
season in Saturday’s win. Lehtonen is 5-1-0 over his last six starts and he is
expected to start again in the finale of the homestand.

Patrick Eaves and Jason Spezza each posted a goal and an assist against the
Blackhawks. Shawn Horcoff and Tyler Seguin also scored for the Stars, who
scored twice in the opening period and added two more goals in the third.

Dallas was 2-for-3 on the power play and killed off both of Chicago’s chances
with the man advantage.

“We got the lead there quickly,” said Lehtonen. “It was fun to play.”

After tonight, the Stars will play their next three games on the road. They’ll
begin the swing Wednesday night in Calgary.

The Sabres, who are last in the NHL with 47 points, have lost two straight and
eight of 10. They were shut out Saturday in Nashville, as the Predators picked
up a 3-0 victory while posting a 43-24 advantage in shots.

Matt Hackett took the loss for Buffalo despite making 40 saves, two shy of his
personal best.

“Thought Hackett played well. He gave us a chance,” Buffalo head coach Ted
Nolan said. “Some posts, some breakaways. Can’t fault the effort.”

Buffalo has lost six of its last seven road games and is just 8-25-3 as the
guest this season.

The Sabres, who were coached by Ruff for 14-plus seasons before he was fired
in February 2013, have lost three of their last five games versus Dallas. The
Stars are 4-1-1 in their last six home games against Buffalo.