|Stars look to end road trip with win over Sabres|
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- With five out of a possible six points to open the week, the Dallas Stars will look to end their four-game road trip on a high note against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.
The two teams will meet in a 1 p.m. matinee on Saturday in Buffalo.
Getting off to a good start is an area of focus for the Stars (26-17-4) according to coach Ken Hitchcock. Hitchcock has been disappointed with his team's recent starts despite their success on the road; on Thursday against Columbus, Dallas fell behind 1-0. Against Detroit on Tuesday, the Red Wings scored 44 seconds into the game.
"What was disappointing was our start and the start is a reflection of everybody," Hitchcock said, according to the team's website. "It's a reflection of the coaches, it's a reflection of the players. At this time of year after 45 games you want to have your team ready to go and we had to go the other way.
"We're playing awful well and we just don't want to let go of the rope. And more important, when you have those type of starts that's a sign that you're letting go of the rope a little bit. So we wanted to guard against that."
Kari Lehtonen will get a rare start for the Stars. Ben Bishop started the previous two games and has played in 13 of the team's last 14 games. Lehtonen opened the road trip for Dallas on Monday with a 3-2 overtime win against the Boston Bruins. Lehtonen has a record of 6-5-1 on the season along with a goals-against average of 2.54 and a save percentage of .910.
Jamie Benn leads the Stars in scoring with 44 points (18 goals, 26 assists) in 44 games. Alexander Radulov (18 goals, 25 assists) and John Klingberg (six goals, 37 assists) are tied for second on the team with 43 points.
In Thursday's overtime loss to Columbus, Stars defenseman Dillon Heatherington made his NHL debut, playing 13:28. Heatherington was chosen 50th overall by Columbus in 2013.
"He was good," Hitchcock said, according to the team's website. "Solid. Smart. Big. He gives us a different dimension there. I was very impressed with Dillon."
The Sabres (11-25-9) are coming off yet another loss, falling 4-3 to the New York Rangers on Thursday. It's a familiar tone for the Sabres, who have lost six of their last seven games.
Buffalo is looking to get some help from young forward Nicholas Baptiste, who was recalled from the AHL's Rochester Americans on Friday. Baptiste has 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 34 games with Rochester.
"I just think he's doing the things that they're telling him to do," Sabres coach Phil Housley said, according to the team's website. "He's tenacious on the forecheck. He's really strong down low. He's getting to the net more. He's creating things offensively. That's why he's up here."
Jack Eichel leads the Sabres in scoring with 43 points (18 goals, 25 assists) in 45 games.