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Sabres close, but drop 4-3 decision to Dallas

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550)  -- Hello, and welcome once again into the Ted Darling Memorial Press Box high atop ice level at First Niagara Center. Tonight the Buffalo Sabres welcome a familiar bench boss back to town, as Dallas Stars head coach Lindy Ruff will step behind the visitors bench here for the very first time. 

Tonight also marks the end of an era, so to speak, and the start of a new one with now ex-co captain Thomas Vanek was traded to the New York Islanders for a pair of draft picks and forward Matt Moulson. The newest Sabre forward is wearing Vanek's "old" number 26 and will be in the lineup tonight. For more from the morning skate, click here for Paul Hamilton's pregame primer.

Be sure to add your comments throughout the night in the thread below. I will chip in my two cents in between the scoring plays. Also, be sure to head over to Twitter and give Brian Koziol and myself a follow: @BrianWGR and @PatWGR.

First Period

18:27 - Marcus Foligno and Stephane Robidas mix it up in front of the net but do not drop the gloves. Some early fight out of the blue and gold, going to see more of that as the game goes on to be successful.

17:01 - STARS GOAL. I guess you could classify Vernon Fiddler's goal as an ugly one. It counts regardless, and Dallas has an ealry lead. 1-0 DAL

16:34 - SABRES GOAL. Welcome to the team, Matt MoulsonTyler Ennis made a nice pass while skating down the left wing side, hit the newest Sabre cutting through the slot and he unleashed a perfect shot. 1-1 tie.

12:56 - At the first media timeout the Sabres game presentation staff got it right. They had a very nice video montage for former head coach Lindy Ruff, capping it with a 'Thank You Lindy' graphic. Players and fans gave the formers Sabres head coach an enormous cheer that lasted after the video. 

9:31 - The new line pairing of Tyler Ennis-Cody Hodgson-Matt Moulson has started strong and contiuned it their next shift on the ice. They are generating solid scoring chances. I will have to track that line as the night goes on.

6:12 - Steve Ott picks up slashing and unsportsmanlike conduct minors against his old team. This is the first time that the Sabres captain is playing his old team that traded him for Derek Roy.

3:20 - STARS GOAL. A couple of huge saves by Ryan Miller on the PK, but Alex Goligoski unleashes the shot with traffic in front and score on the PP. 2-1 DAL.

2:08 - STARS GOAL. Tyler Seguin nets his 5th goal of the season as Tyler Myers is late on the coverage in his own end. The former 2nd overall pick by Boston beats Miller and ups the Dallas lead to two. 3-1 DAL

End of Period

Goal Summary

BUF: 3:26 - Matt Moulson (7) (Tyler Ennis, Cody Hodgson)
DAL: 2:59 - Vernon Fiddler (1) (Lane MacDermid, Antoine Roussel). 16:40 - Alex Goligoski (1) PPG (Valeri Nichuskin, Jordie Benn). 17:52 - Tyler Seguin (5) (Erik Cole).

Penalty Summary

BUF: 13:48 - Steve Ott (2 min., slashing). 13:48 - Steve Ott (2 min., misconduct).
DAL: none

Shots on Goal

BUF - 8, DAL - 13

Second Period

16:30 - Mark Pysyk took a holding minor near the start of the period, but his teammates are able to kill it off without incident. The Stars already have 7 shots on goal this period, however.

10:21 - Shots on goal in this period are 10-3 in favor of Dallas, and 23-11 overall in the game.

9:01 - STARS GOAL. Jamie Benn ups the lead for Dallas after the Sabres defense allows him to sit in the slot alone. The visitors are not letting up and continue to take it to Buffalo. 4-1 DAL.

8:24 - Buffalo gets their first power play of the night thanks to Cody Eakin's tripping minor. Let's see if this sparks the blue and gold's offense this period.

7:06 - SABRES GOAL. After a very lackluster start to the power play, Mikhail Grigorenko makes a nice cross-ice pass to Steve Ott. The captain was camped at the side of the net on the right wing side and buries the chance against his old team. 4-2 DAL.

2:43 - SABRES GOAL. Matt Moulson nets his second goal of the game as the puck goes off of his skate after a point shot by Christian Ehrhoff. Even though Buffalo has not played a good overall game, they are hanging around. 4-3 DAL.

End of Period

Goal Summary

BUF: 12:54 - Steve Ott (2) PPG (Mikhail Grigorenko, Tyler Myers). 17:17 - Matt Moulson (8) (Christian Ehrhoff, Tyler Ennis).
DAL: 10:55 - Jamie Benn (4) (Tyler Seguin, Erik Cole).

Penalty Summary

BUF: 1:22 - Mark Pysyk (2 min., holding)
DAL: 11:36 - Cody Eakin (2 min., tripping)

Shots on Goal

BUF - 8 (16), DAL - 11 (24)

Third Period

19:17 - The Moulson-Hogdson-Ennis line is out to start the period and nearly tied the game up. Ennis was right on top of Kari Lehtonen before the goalie was able to get the puck out of harms way.

18:36 - Buffalo going to the man advantage after Brenden Dillon was called for a kneeing minor, to go with his fighting major. Dillon and Marcus Foligno dropped the gloves and threw a few punches before having the fight broken up. Foligno signaled to the crowd to get into the period.

11:55 - Pysyk catches a break as he took an offsetting minor penalty for roughing along with Dallas Antoine Roussel in addition to Fiddler's slashing penalty. It very well could have been just Fiddler and Pysyk in the box instead of the 5-on-4.

7:36 - Shots on goal are 5-5 this frame. However, neither team has really had a good scoring chance that could sway the game one way or the other. Buffalo's PP did not yield any real results and the Stars seem to be just running out the clock, so to speak.

4:01 - We have gone past the final media timeout with Dallas holding onto their one goal lead. Time for me to get ready to head down to the locker room and get the thoughts of Lindy Ruff once this game concludes. 

End of Game

Goal Summary

BUF: none
DAL: none

Penalty Summary

BUF: 1:24 -  Marcus Foligno (5 min., fighting). 8:05 - Mark Pysyk (2 min., roughing)
DAL: 1:24 - Brenden Dillon (2 min., kneeing). 1:24 - Brenden Dillon (5 min., fighting). 8:05 - Vernon Fiddler (2 min., slashing). 8:05 - Antoine Roussel (2 min., roughing).

Shots on Goal

BUF - 9 (25), DAL - 5 (29)

Final Thoughts

Tonight the Sabres had their best total effort in front of the home fans, but it was just a bit short. Even with just 1.2 seconds to go in the game Steve Ott won an offensive zone faceoff and Cody Hodgson had a whack at the puck before the final buzzer sounded. Lindy Ruff gets the W against his former team, and it was a nailbiter to the end. I think both teams sort of ran out of gas in the final period, as evidenced by the 14 combined shots (9-5, Buffalo) which was the lowest combined total of the three periods. Next up is a date with the New York Rangers on Thursday night. The puck drops at 7 o'clock on the flagship home of the Sabres Radio Network - WGR Sports Radio 550, with Schopp and the Bulldog anchoring the pregame show at 6 p.m.

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Locations : Buffalo
People : Brian KoziolLindy RuffMatt MoulsonPaul HamiltonThomas Vanek
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