BUFFALO — Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff had an opportunity to experience an entire range of emotions in his first trip back to Buffalo to face his former team.
Ruff went from holding back tears during a first-period tribute that culminated in a standing ovation, to feeling anxious after the Stars nearly squandered a three-goal lead. And finally he felt relief after Dallas hung on for a 4-3 victory over the Sabres on Monday night.
"It was kind of a huge relief," Ruff said. "I was really glad once the tribute was over. I wanted to get the game over with. A lot of good memories here."
Add another one to the list. The Sabres winningest coach came away a victor on the visitors' bench after goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped the final 10 shots he faced to preserve the win.
Tyler Seguin capped a three-goal, first-period outburst, and Jamie Benn's goal midway through the second period stood up as the winner in Ruff's first game against his former team after his 16-year tenure in Buffalo ended with him being fired on Feb. 20.
"Well, we couldn't just give it to him. We had to make sure he earned it," Seguin said, with a smile referring to how close the Stars came to spoiling Ruff's homecoming. "No, it was a good win. And we're moving on now."