Sabres 5, Stars 3

As tall as he is, Tyler Myers’ stock on the Buffalo Sabres grew
even larger after the rookie defenseman enjoyed a career-best
performance.

At 6-foot-8, Myers had a goal and three assists to spark the
Sabres’ sluggish offense in a 5-3 win over the Dallas Stars on
Wednesday night. Aside from helping Buffalo score five goals for
the first time in 18 games, the rookie of the year candidate helped
the team regain the top spot in the Northeast Division.

“He’s been an important piece to our team,” coach Lindy Ruff
said of the player who celebrated his 20th birthday last month. “I
thought even in the third period, he was just having fun
playing.”

It was an enjoyable night for Myers, who opened the scoring in
the first minute with a shot that deflected in off of three bodies.
He then played a role in securing the victory, getting an assist on
Thomas Vanek’s goal that broke a 3-3 tie midway through the second
period.

For Myers, who leads Buffalo defensemen with 36 points (nine
goals, 27 assists), all that mattered was helping his team extend
its winning streak to three – the Sabres’ longest since a six-gamer
ended in early January.

“We don’t want to stop there, we want to make it four,” Myers
said. “It’s always nice to have a breakout game like that when you
get that many goals.”

Derek Roy, who scored into an empty net, and rookie Mark Mancari
had a goal and assist each, while Jason Pominville also scored for
Buffalo (36-20-9), which moved two points ahead of idle Ottawa in
the Northeast.

Jamie Benn had a goal and assist, and Steve Ott and Toby
Petersen also scored for the Stars, 1-4 in their past five games.
The Stars (29-25-12), who return to Dallas to open a six-game
homestand, are 10th in the Western Conference, five points behind
Calgary for the eighth and final playoff berth.

No need to remind Ott how important the Stars’ upcoming stretch
is.

“It’s our season,” Ott said. “If we don’t get the ship in the
right direction, you might as well call it a season.”

The Stars were resilient in matching the Sabres goal for goal
through the first period, which ended tied at 3. The trouble began
in the second period, when Dallas failed to generate much offense
in being outshot 15-5.

“The game was there,” coach Marc Crawford said. “Our chances
were spectacular in the first period. For some reason, we stopped
doing those things and we tried to overcomplicate it.”

The Stars were eventually outshot 43-20 overall, putting far too
much pressure on Marty Turco to bail them out a second time after
the goalie stopped 49 shots in a 4-3 shootout win at Washington on
Monday.

Turco particularly had no chance on Vanek’s go-ahead goal, which
was set up after Myers’ shot from the point was tipped and
deflected high off the glass before landing behind the Stars net.
That’s where Mancari collected it and smartly fed a wide-open
Vanek, who roofed a shot over Turco from atop the crease.

Sabres goalie Miller was hardly tested in stopping 17 shots. But
his best came with 5:11 left when he stopped Trevor Daley’s initial
shot from the right circle and then stretched back with his stick
to stop the puck from bouncing in after the rebound deflected off a
player in front.

“It was good to see the guys put some pucks in and get rewarded
for their effort,” Miller said. “It was a pretty complete
game.”

NOTES: The Stars were minus RW Jere Lehtinen (illness), while
center Brian Sutherby was scratched despite being activated earlier
in the day from injured reserve after missing 10 games with a
shoulder injury. … Steve Mesler, a member of the U.S. four-man
bobsled team that won a gold medal at the Vancouver Games last
month, dropped the puck in a ceremonial pregame faceoff. Mesler is
from Buffalo and, earlier in the day, was awarded the key to the
city by Mayor Byron Brown. … The Stars have not won at Buffalo –
going 0-4-1 – since Brett Hull scored the Stanley Cup-clinching
goal in a 2-1 triple-overtime win on June 19, 1999. … With an
assist on Benn’s goal, Mike Modano reached 1,354th career points to
move into a tie with Brendan Shanahan for 23rd on the NHL list.