Published January 08, 2015
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Buffalo Sabres have moved on from their franchise netminder, but have still managed to post their longest winning streak of the season.
The Sabres get another blast from the past on Monday night when they battle former head coach Lindy Ruff and the Dallas Stars for the second time this season.
Sitting last in the NHL standings, the Sabres pulled off a five-play trade with the St. Louis Blues on Friday, swapping goaltender Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott for netminder Jaroslav Halak, forward Chris Stewart and prospect William Carrier. Buffalo also received a 2015 first-round pick and conditional third-round selection in 2016 from the Blues.
Miller ended his Buffalo tenure as a former Vezina Trophy winner and with a franchise-high 284 wins.
It's quite a coincidence then that Buffalo will face the longest-tenured head coach in team history in Ruff, who served as the bench boss for the Sabres from 1997-2013 before getting fired on Feb. 20 of last year.
Ruff made a return trip to Buffalo on Oct. 28 and the Stars won a 4-3 contest.
The Sabres have still won six of the previous eight meetings, but have just three victories in their last 11 trips to Dallas.
Not long after dealing Miller and Ott, the Sabres came out and topped the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Tyler Myers had a goal and two assists, while Cody Hodgson supplied a power-play goal. Brian Flynn and Matt Moulson supplied Buffalo's other two goals.
Jhonas Enroth made 36 saves in Buffalo's season-high third straight win. He has been in net for two of those and has a chance to grab the starting job in Buffalo.
There are reports that the Sabres may trade Halak, a pending free agent, before Wednesday's deadline.
"If you don't call this a chance then I don't know what a chance is," Enroth said after Friday's win. "But I'm not going to try and put too much pressure on this moment and just try and be myself and stay professional. Just try and play the best I can.
"I truly believe I can be a No. 1 guy here."
Buffalo is looking to win four straight for the first time since a five-game run from March 19-27, 2012.
The Stars had a six-game point streak snapped on Saturday with a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Antoine Roussel and Vernon Fiddler both had a goal and an assist, while Kari Lehtonen allowed four goals on 21 shots.
"We needed to fight back, and we did," said Ruff. "We hunkered down, and went to work. When it was 3-2, we had two or three unbelievable opportunities to tie it up."
The Stars had been 4-0-2 in their previous six games and are tied with the Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference with 66 points.