Tyler Myers' main job is to keep the opposition away from Ryan Miller. On Wednesday night, though, he helped his goalie out with plenty of offense.
The 6-foot-8 defenseman had a career night with a goal and three assists as the Buffalo Sabres skated to a 5-3 win against the Dallas Stars at HSBC Arena. Myers, a 20-year-old rookie, now has 36 points (9 goals, 27 assists) in his first 65 NHL games.
More important is that his team has now won three games in a row as it attempts to win the Northeast Division crown. The victory moved the Sabres two points ahead of the second-place Ottawa Senators.
"We don't want to stop there, we want to make it four,'' Myers said of the winning streak. ''It's always nice to have a breakout game like that when you get that many goals.''
Myers' goal came just 55 seconds into what was a wild first period. Each team scored three times in the opening 20 minutes, but Myers assisted on Thomas Vanek's second-period tally and again when Derek Roy scored into an empty net at 19:42 of the third.
''He's been an important piece to our team,'' Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said of Myers, who was the 12th pick in the 2008 Entry Draft. ''I thought even in the third period, he was just having fun playing.''
Jamie Benn had a goal and assist, and Steve Ott and Toby Petersen also scored for the Stars, who have won only once in their past five games. Dallas (29-25-12) is five points behind Calgary for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference as it returns home to open a six-game homestand.
''It's our season,'' Ott said of the homestand. ''If we don't get the ship in the right direction, you might as well call it a season.''
Dallas held a brief 3-2 lead in the first period, as Ott and Benn scored 5:28 apart after Mark Mancari had put Buffalo ahead at 7:49. Petersen tied the game at 1 just 2:04 after Myers opened the scoring.
But Jason Pominville tied the game at 3 in the final minute of the first, when he beat Marty Turco (38 saves) for his 17th goal of the season. The Stars were outshot 16-9 in the first period and 15-5 in the second.
'The game was there,'' Dallas 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.''
Vanek scored what proved to be the game-winner midway through the second period. After Myers blasted a shot from the point that was deflected high off the glass before landing behind the Stars net, Mancari sent it out to a wide-open Vanek, who roofed a shot over Turco for his 20th goal of the season.
Miller (17 saves) preserved the lead with 5:11 remaining in regulation, when he robbed Trevor Daley from the right circle, then managed to prevent 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.''
Material from wire services was used in this report