BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Rookie defenseman Tyler Myers had a goal and three assists and the Buffalo Sabres reclaimed the top spot in the Northeast Division with a 5-3 victory over the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night.
Thomas Vanek scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, and Jason Pominville, Mark Mancari and Derek Roy also scored. Buffalo won its third straight — its best string since a six-gamer ended in early January — and improved to 36-20-9 to move 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.
In going 1-2 during a three-game trip, Dallas failed to build off the momentum of a 4-3 shootout win over Washington on Monday night.
Buffalo enjoyed an offensive eruption in scoring five goals for the first time in 18 games, since a 7-2 win at Phoenix on Jan. 18. The Sabres also dominated the play, outshooting the Stars 31-14 through two periods and 43-20 overall.
Myers, an NHL rookie of the year candidate, had a hand in Vanek's go-ahead goal that broke a 3-3 tie midway through the second period. Myer's shot from the point was tipped and deflected high off the glance before landing behind the Stars net. That's where Mancari collected it and smartly fed a wide-open Vanek, who roofed a shot over Marty Turco from atop the crease.
Myers opened the scoring less than a minute in during what proved to be a wide-open first period, in which the Sabres squandered two one-goal leads. The Stars eventually enjoyed a brief 3-2 edge when Benn snapped a shot to beat Ryan Miller on the glove side with 2:04 left. Pominville tied it in the final minute by deflecting in Myers' point shot.
For the Sabres, their three goals in the first 20 were more than they had produced in all of regulation in each of their past four games.
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.
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 registered his 1,354th career point to move into a tie with Brendan Shanahan for 23rd on the NHL list.