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Five Things to Know as Sabres visit Dallas Stars

DALLAS – The Sabres will try for their first four-game winning streak in more than two years. Lindy Ruff is in their way.

Here are Five Things to Know as Buffalo visits the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

1. Going streaking.

With Tuesday’s victory in Nashville, the Sabres have won three straight for the first time since Nov. 1. They haven’t won four in a row since December 2014.

“We’ve got to keep playing the same way,” right wing Kyle Okposo said in American Airlines Center. “We’ve been playing the same way for a while, probably the last three weeks, and we just have to make sure we stay on that. This is a huge game for us, and we’ve got to treat it as a must-win.”

2. Working overtime.

All three victories during the Sabres’ run came in overtime. It’s just the second time in franchise history that has happened, matching a trifecta accomplished in November 2006. Buffalo has never won four in a row in overtime.

“We did talk about it a little bit, maybe want to try and win this one in regulation,” coach Dan Bylsma said after the morning skate. “But we’ll take it any way we can get it. If it has to be in overtime, we’ll keep heading there.”

3. Stars want revenge.

The teams played Jan. 16 in Buffalo, with the Sabres earning a 4-1 victory. Tyler Ennis scored just 19 seconds into the game, and Buffalo went 2 for 3 on the power play.

“They played really well, created a couple opportunities early, put some pressure on us,” Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. “I didn’t think we got inside enough. I think tonight if we’re going to create extra opportunities, we’ve got to get inside.

“Right now they’re running good. They’ve got a lot of speed and skill up front in that lineup, and we’ve got to make sure our push comes from the top of the circles down.”

4. Sabres making changes.

Goaltender Anders Nilsson will start for the Sabres after Robin Lehner got the nod in two straight and four of five.

“The parents trip, both Robin and Nilss getting a chance to start on this trip,” Bylsma said.

Left wing William Carrier will replace Nicolas Deslauriers. The defense will stay the same, meaning a second straight appearance by Dmitry Kulikov. He returned from a back injury Tuesday in Nashville.

“It was an adjustment for him the first 10, 15 minutes of that game,” Bylsma said. “He stepped up on” Cody McLeod “and he thought he was going to run the guy over. He gets run over. A couple of puck plays in that first period, he was adjusting to the speed of the game and getting back in there.

“I thought his second half of the game was like he’d not missed a beat.”

5. All-Star break looms.

With the exception of Kyle Okposo, the Sabres will take this weekend off for the All-Star Game. The next game is Tuesday in Montreal.

Okposo will fly to Los Angeles to represent Buffalo in the midseason gala. The NHL is celebrating its centennial.

“It’ll be fun,” Okposo said. “I’m looking forward to the festivities, especially with it being the 100 years. There’s going to be a lot of guys floating around, so that part of it will be pretty cool.”

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