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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET20:00 BRT, March 12, 2019
KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York  Attendance: 17,830

Sabres take on Stars without suspended Eichel

Dallas Stars at Buffalo Sabres

  1. The Stars have won four straight games in the series, seven of the last eight and nine of 11 dating back to 2013-14. The teams least met in Buffalo on January 20, 2018, with the Stars winning, 7-1. The six-goal margin is tied for the Stars' largest in a road game since the franchise moved to Dallas in 1993.
  2. Dallas' four-game winning streak came to an end with Saturday's 2-1 home loss to Chicago. The Stars have given up three goals or fewer in eight of their last nine contests and only three total goals in their last four games.
  3. The Sabres are 2-8-2 since February 15, tied for the league's third-worst record in that span. After winning 10 consecutive games from November 8 through November 27, the Sabres have gone 13-23-7; no team has fewer wins in that stretch.
  4. Ben Bishop has stopped 88 of 89 shots this month, winning all three starts. Bishop's 2.13 GAA this season is the lowest for a Dallas netminder (minimum 25 games) since 2003-04, when Marty Turco posted a 1.98 mark.
  5. Since December 1, the Sabres have lost all 12 games (0-10-2) in which Jack Eichel has played and failed to record a point. In Eichel's career, the team is 23-75-16 (.272) when he does not register at least one point.
  6. Since February 15, the Stars (36.6) and Sabres (36.3) are allowing the most shots on goal per game. The Stars have the league's second-highest save percentage in that stretch, .935, while Buffalo's .894 ranks 26th.

The news that came down Sunday night from the NHL's Department of Player Safety wasn't good for the Buffalo Sabres, but that's about par for the course for the club lately.

The league suspended Buffalo star Jack Eichel two games for an illegal check to the head of Colorado Avalanche forward Carl Soderberg in the Sabres' 3-0 road loss on Saturday. The safety department judged the contact as "avoidable" by Eichel.

The former Boston University standout will miss Tuesday's game against the Dallas Stars and Thursday's against the Pittsburgh Penguins, both home contests. Eichel, 22, will be able to return to the lineup when the Sabres play at the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.

Eichel isn't the only high-profile captain to be suspended in the past three weeks. Edmonton Oilers electrifying superstar Connor McDavid received the same punishment last month for his head shot on New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy.

The Buffalo center has 25 goals and 72 points in 65 games and is attempting to notch the first 30-goal season of his career. He recorded a career-high 25 last season and matched it this year, but he will have two fewer games to reach the milestone.

In anticipation of Eichel's suspension, Buffalo recalled Alexander Nylander from the AHL's Rochester Americans. The Calgary, Alberta, native was the eighth overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

The loss in Denver dropped the Sabres (30-29-9) to 2-8-2 in their last 12 games, a stretch that has all but ended their chase for a wild card spot.

"I mean, they outworked us. They were more desperate than we were," Eichel said after the loss in Colorado, one in which his club produced just 18 shots on goal.

The Sabres could use a boost as Dallas comes to KeyBank Center. The Stars beat Buffalo 1-0 behind Ben Bishop's 30-save performance and lone goal from Jamie Benn on Jan. 30.

The defensive-minded Stars suffered a 2-1 home loss to the resurgent Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, but little else has gone wrong for the Western Conference team of late.

Coach Jim Montgomery's team had won four straight before losing to its Central Division foe. In its most recent spell of good play, Dallas has been victorious in six of its last nine contests.

Dallas (35-28-5) has used strong play in its defensive end in front of Bishop and backup goaltender Anton Khudobin to be in position to earn a wild card spot. Entering Monday's game, the Stars were solidly ranked third in the NHL in goals against per game at 2.53.

Bishop beat St. Louis 4-1 a week ago Saturday then shut out the New York Rangers 1-0 and Colorado 4-0. Montgomery turned to Khudobin against the Blackhawks to give Bishop some rest.

"If you're looking for a positive, Khudobin was our positive," Montgomery said of the 32-year-old goalie, who is 13-14-3 but sports an impressive .924 save percentage. "We're just lucky. We pitched two shutouts, and we go with Khudobin and he's fantastic.

"We're really lucky that way."

--Field Level Media

Updated March 11, 2019

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