When the Dallas Stars last faced Buffalo, the Sabres were the Eastern Conference's best road team. Over two years later, poor road play is Buffalo's biggest concern.
The Stars look to become the latest team to pin the Sabres with a road loss when the teams meet Thursday night in their last game before the All-Star break.
These teams haven't met since Dec. 14, 2005, when Buffalo won 4-3 at home. The Sabres had the East's best road record that season at 25-13-3 en route to losing to Carolina in the conference finals.
This season, Buffalo (20-21-6) has one of the East's worst records and is riding a franchise-worst eight-game losing streak on the road, where it is 8-13-4. The Sabres haven't won away from HSBC Arena since Dec. 22, when they beat Philadelphia 6-5 in a shootout.
Dallas (28-19-5) has won three straight home games against Buffalo and seven of nine since the Stars franchise moved from Minnesota. This, however, will be the teams' first meeting in Dallas since March 31, 2003, when the Stars won 3-0.
The Stars are completing a four-game stretch at American Airlines Center, where they are 15-8-2. They had won three straight overall before a 4-2 loss to Columbus on Tuesday night.
Dallas is in a tight race with Anaheim and San Jose for the top spot in the Pacific Division.
"That's going to be our focus, we can't let a couple of more points slide," Stars winger Brenden Morrow said of his team's matchup with Buffalo. "It's still early to scoreboard watch, but it's critical, every point. It's huge for us right now."
Morrow scored his 20th goal Tuesday, giving him four in three games.
"Just trying to keep things simple and go to the net," he said. "I'm finding the net right now, things are working."
Dallas, however, continues to struggle on the power play. The Stars went 0-for-7 with the man advantage against the Blue Jackets, and are 1-for-22 in their last five games. They'll be facing a Sabres team that's stopped 83.7 percent (170-for-203) of its opponents' power-play chances.
But Buffalo has surrendered 10 goals in its last two games -- four on the power play -- during one of its worst stretches on defense this season. The Sabres' road losing streak was extended Monday with a 6-2 loss to Phoenix.
Buffalo has not scored a power-play goal in any game during its road skid, going 0-for-29 in that span, and has been held to two goals or less in each of those eight contests. The Sabres will be playing the third of seven straight games on the road spanning the All-Star break.
Buffalo snapped a franchise-record 10-game overall losing streak with a 10-1 win against Atlanta on Friday night, but followed with a 4-2 loss at Toronto the next day.
"It's repetitive but we have to stick together and keep playing our system and play better," Sabres center Paul Gaustad said. "We're not happy in here at all. Every guy has to look at himself in the mirror and then stick together. We have to find a way. We have to be better. We're not pointing fingers."