Sometimes all you need to get back on track is a trip back home. For Lindy Ruff, the head coach of the Dallas Stars, this came true on Monday night. Ruff, who spent 15 seasons behind the bench of the Buffalo Sabres and also played for the Sabres, returned to the First Niagra Center in Western New York. For the first time though, Ruff was a visiting coach in Buffalo.
Even though the day was an emotionally-charged one for Ruff, the Stars did their best to make sure it was a memorable return. Buffalo was coming into the game with a little different look as well. After the Sabres had gotten off to a terrible start, they traded arguably their best player Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders on Sunday.
Matt Moulson, the player the Sabres got in return, did his best to try and spoil Ruff’s return. Moulson scored two of the Sabres’ three goals in his debut. Steve Ott, who was facing his former team for the first time, scored the other goal for the Sabres. However, it wasn’t enough as Dallas managed four of their own against goalie Ryan Miller.
Even though it’s one game in late October and there is plenty of hockey to be played, this is the type of game that could help jump start a team like the Stars. Dallas, with all their offensive firepower, has been looking for the right combinations of lines. They have been trying to establish team chemistry among each other and this could be the type of game they use as a motivator going forward.
It may just be one game, but it was a huge win for the Stars and for coach Ruff — a win that could be used to move the Stars to the next level.