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.