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Stars' Lindy Ruff sees improvement in Sabres

DALLAS – Lindy Ruff used to get anxious facing Buffalo because it was his home for so long. The nerves are still there, but it’s for a different reason.

“Buffalo’s always going to be special,” Ruff said Thursday. “You get to the point where I don’t want to play them because I think they’re a lot better team now. They’re scary games. They’re tough games.”

Ruff and his Dallas Stars will host the Sabres on Thursday night. It’s the final game before the All-Star break, and the Sabres head into American Airlines Center with a three-game winning streak. The Sabres have climbed within five points of a playoff spot with two games in hand.

“If you look at where they’re at in the standings, they’re right in the thick of it for creeping into a playoff spot,” Ruff said after the morning skate. “Watching their last couple games and how healthy they are and looking at the lineup that’s got pretty much all their key pieces, I know how tough this game is going to be.

“I know how teams want to approach the break. You want to go on a positive note. They’ve had a couple great games, and they’ve got a couple big wins. We want to do the same, so the focus is it’s a team coming into this building and we dearly need to win one before the break.”

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