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Part 1 of 2 previews of the Stanley Cup Finals
Saturday, June 5, 1999

It's hot in Dallas right now. And it's going to get even hotter on the ice come Tuesday night. Hockey is meant to be played in mid January with temperatures between 0-20 degrees F. It was not intended to be played south of the Mason-Dixon line in mid-June.

Snowball's chance in hell? Why not! The Sabres have Satan on their side, and he must be used to those high temperatures.

Hot or not, the NHL starts the last Stanley Cup Finals to be played in this century on Tuesday night in Dallas as the Sabres take on the Stars. This is the first part of a two part preview of the upcoming SCF.

The Sabres are the hottest team in the NHL right now. They blew past Ottawa, Boston and Toronto, losing only 3 while winning 12. Their powerplay is clicking on all cylinders and they are getting scoring from almost all their forwards. To add to that, the defense is pinching in to help the offensive effort and scoring a lot themselves. Defensively, the Sabres are cutting the shots against way down from the regular season when they were continuously outshot. Now it's usually the reverse, with opponents lucky to get even 20 shots on Dominik Hasek. Hasek has not really been tested since Game One in the first series against Ottawa. He missed the first two games against the Leafs, but seems healthy enough to give it at least an 80% effort. And that is plenty for the this suddenly intensified Sabre team.

The Sabres are doing it at both ends, and adding another element that should have the Dallas Stars worried: their hellbent physical game. Every Sabre has picked up his physical game and this has knocked the Sabres past three opponents off their game. It is essential the Buffalo continues this terrorism if they want to drink from the Cup.

In tomorrow's segment of my preview, I will address the strengths and weaknesses of both the Sabres and the Stars and come to the ultimate conclusion of who's gonna win that Cup.