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game recap

Kari Lehtonen helps Stars hang on for win

Goalie makes 16 of 21 saves against Sabres in third period of relief appearance

by Sean Shapiro / Correspondent

DALLAS -- Patrick Sharp scored two goals, and Kari Lehtonen made 21 saves in relief to help the Dallas Stars to a 4-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres at American Airlines Center on Thursday.

Lehtonen, who replaced Antti Niemi to start the second period, made 16 saves in the third.

Lehtonen was told at the end of the first period that he'd be going in after Niemi allowed two goals on five shots, and he said that benefited him after he dealt with dehydration issues at practice earlier this week.


WATCH: All Stars vs. Sabres highlights


"It's nicer than jumping in there cold," Lehtonen said. "You have time to stretch out and get ready, and I was warm now."

Lehtonen made his biggest saves in the third period.

At 9:02, he stopped a Rasmus Ristolainen slap shot from the top of the right faceoff circle with his right pad, and defenseman Esa Lindell swatted the rebound out of midair from inside the crease.

At 11:06, Lehtonen smothered a Sam Reinhart backhand shot from the left circle between his left arm and body while going down near the goal line. Video review was inconclusive in determining whether the puck crossed the goal line.

A video review after time expired determined the puck did not cross the goal line on a play at the Dallas net with 11 seconds remaining.

"Well, the puck goes through [Buffalo defenseman Zach] Bogosian and into the net," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "The view, it's not super clear, I guess, in terms of definitively saying where it ends up. It hits on his pad, or it sits on the side of his pants. At least on the view, it's on the right side of the crossbar in our camera. I think the answer is they don't definitively know that it crossed the whole goal line."

Video: BUF@DAL: Kane shoots through traffic, nets his second

Approximately half of the Stars were back in the locker room during the review, hoping the game was over.

"I was in the room trying to get good karma going already starting to get undressed," forward Devin Shore said. "That was wild."

Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin scored for the Stars (20-20-10), who won for the first time in four games.

Evander Kane had two goals and an assist for the Sabres (20-19-9), who had their three-game winning streak come to an end.

Kane scored on a rush 3:44 into the game when he outskated Dallas defenseman John Klingberg and lifted a wrist shot past Niemi to give Buffalo a 1-0 lead.

Kane helped the Sabres take a 2-0 lead on the power play when he set up Matt Moulson's power-play goal at 9:30 of the first.

Sharp made it 2-1 when he scored through a Lauri Korpikoski screen of Buffalo goalie Anders Nilsson at 10:59 of the first.

Benn tied the game 2-2 42 seconds into the second period when he beat Nilsson between the legs on the power play. The Sabres challenged the goal, claiming it came after the Stars were offside, but video review was inconclusive.

Sharp scored his second goal of the game to give Dallas a 3-2 lead at 13:16 of the second on a wrist shot that beat Nilsson to the stick side.

"He's starting to look like the old Patrick Sharp," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "The second shot was a real good effort getting up ice and putting it in the right spot."

Dallas pushed its lead to 4-2 at 15:24 of the period when Buffalo defenseman Cody Franson put the puck into his own net. Seguin was credited with his 18th goal.

Kane made it 4-3 when he scored his second goal with 1:05 remaining in the second on a point shot with Brian Gionta screening Lehtonen.

It was the last game for each team prior to the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend.


Goal of the game

Nilsson got a piece of Seguin's shot from close range with his glove while on his stomach, but Franson put the puck into his own net for what proved to be Seguin's second game-winner of the season.

Video: BUF@DAL: Seguin sticks with a chaotic play and scores


Save of the game

Lehtonen got some help from Lindell at 9:02 of the third period when the defenseman swatted the puck away from the goal line. "Good teamwork," Lehtonen said. "I'd like to say I yelled something, but it was just him thinking quick."


Highlight of the game

Kane scored the first of his two unassisted goals when he took the puck end to end, skated past Klingberg in the Dallas zone, and lifted it past Niemi.

Video: BUF@DAL: Kane shows off wheels, beats Niemi in 1st


Unsung performance of the game

Dallas defenseman Stephen Johns had five shots on goal, four hits and three blocked shots in 18:43.


They said it

"It's frustrating. The way the game was played out, the first two periods clearly we got outshot. They had the four power plays, which they took full advantage of with getting and dictating the pace of play in the game. And we find ourselves with a goal at the end of the second, right in a game, and we throw everything we can at them in the third period, and you feel like you know you got goals by the goalie and across the goal line, but you come up empty." -- Sabres coach Dan Bylsma


"They were hard reviews. Even the offside one, there was no definitive view that says it's offside, onside. … The last one, we finally got a view where it looks like it wasn't a goal. It was -- you can print -- [darn] close." -- Stars coach Lindy Ruff


Need to know

Stars rookie defenseman Julius Honka was in the lineup for the first time since Dec. 8.


What's next

Sabres: At the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SNE, RDS, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

Stars: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-SW, SNO, NHL.TV)


Video: Sharp nets two goals in Stars' 4-3 win

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