Dallas Stars head coach Lindy Ruff watches his team take on the Buffalo Sabres during the third period at the American Airlines Center. Ruff gets his 600th career win. The Stars defeated the Sabres 3-2.
DALLAS — In a way, it was almost poetic that Lindy Ruff got his 600th career win as an NHL head coach against his former team, the Buffalo Sabres. The Dallas Stars and Sabres went toe-to-toe on Monday night at American Airlines Center, but in the end a power-play goal by Dallas rookie winger Alex Chiasson, one that went in off his shin guard, was the difference in a 3-2 win.
Ruff becomes the 12th coach in NHL history to reach 600 wins, a select group he was asked about joining almost immediately into his postgame remarks to the leering press.
"It means I’m on my way to 700," Ruff said. "I said to somebody probably 30 more losses and I’ve got 500 of those too. I think it means I’ve had a lot of good players. I’ve coached a lot of good players. I had some real good teams. Those wins for the most part belong to the guys on the ice who go out and get them for you. Guys went out and got one for me tonight."
But true to form, Ruff didn’t make the presser all about him. Instead, he chose to extol the virtues of his players for their role in helping him reach 600, singling out the likes of Chiasson, goaltender Kari Lehtonen and veteran winger Ray Whitney, who had two assists in the win.
He even heaped some rather heady praise onto Buffalo goaltender Johnas Enroth, who was stellar for much of the night in stopping 36 of 39 shots to keep the visitors in the game much longer than they really should have been.
Ruff also talked about how important the return of defenseman Brenden Dillon, who missed the loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday with a lower-body injury.
However, the coolest thing about this victory had to be what two of the younger Stars had to say about the significance of getting Ruff his 600th win.
"It was definitely big for Lindy," Chiasson said. "When you look at the numbers he’s won 600 in the league. I think that means you’ve been around for quite a bit and you’ve been successful. We’re happy for him and definitely to win against his old team makes it a lot better."
Stars defenseman Jordie Benn, who was one of two d-men to find the back of the net in the game for Dallas, who had at least two blue liners score in a game for the first time since March 25, 2013, and Benn too thought it was pretty cool to help Ruff reach such a big milestone.
"Obviously, it’s huge to get that win for him," Benn said. "He’s a very decorated guy, a great guy and a great coach."
Ruff will go for career win No. 601 Tuesday night in Columbus as the Stars complete the back-to-back before returning home for a two-game homestand against Vancouver on Thursday and Minnesota on Saturday, when the jersey of Stars franchise icon Mike Modano will be raised to the rafters at the AAC.