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Niemi, Stars shut out Sabres; Benn scores two goals

by Steve Hunt /

DALLAS -- Jamie Benn scored two goals, and Antti Niemi made 22 saves to help the Dallas Stars to a 3-0 win against the Buffalo Sabres at American Airlines Center on Saturday.

The Stars (17-4-0) have won five in a row.

Benn scored his goals 1:53 apart in the third period to break open a close game. His first goal came off a rebound with Dallas on the power play at 7:11 of the third. He scored his NHL-leading 14th of the season off the rush at 9:04 to give the Stars a 3-0 lead.

"Everybody's contributing, and that's why we've been successful," Benn said.

Tyler Seguin had an assist on each of Benn's goals.

"I thought the third period was as good period as we could have played," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "We're in a good spot, we're up a goal, and I thought the team did a great job."

The shutout was Niemi's second of the season and the 34th of his NHL career.

"It's always nice (to get the shutout), but I just worry about the win," Niemi said.

Niemi's biggest save might have come 15 seconds into the game when he turned away Matt Moulson at the near post after a turnover inside the Dallas zone.

"Sometimes that's a hard game, because he didn't have a lot of action," Ruff said of Niemi. "He had probably four or five really good saves for us to keep the game where it was at."

Antoine Roussel, who turned 26 on Saturday, opened the scoring at 6:22 of the first period on a wrist shot from the left point that deflected off Buffalo defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen's stick before going under the glove of goaltender Chad Johnson, who made 29 saves.

"It's great," Roussel said. "I don't think I ever scored on my birthday, maybe once in junior, but it's great. It gives you a lot of confidence going into the game, and it was nice."

Through two periods, the Stars had a 15-13 advantage in shots on goal.

"Early first [period], we definitely had some good quality chances," Sabres captain Brian Gionta said. "We've got to capitalize on those, for sure, but we've got to stick with the game."

Buffalo (8-10-2), which lost its fourth straight (0-2-2), went on a 5-on-3 power play after Dallas defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka was penalized for delay of game three seconds before the first intermission. The Sabres were already on the man-advantage following an interference call on Roussel with 1:09 remaining in the first.

"Yeah, it's tough; couple bad bounces. Obviously, it's something we need to work on," Sabres center Jack Eichel said of failing to convert the 5-on-3. "We had two against St. Louis [on Thursday]. We could have used that one tonight, could have tied the game up. [A 5-on-3 is] a chance we need to capitalize. For us, it's frustrating knowing that we weren't able to get it done, and the 5-on-3 cost us a little bit."

Buffalo killed off a four-minute Dallas power play resulting from Evander Kane's double minor for high sticking against Roussel at 8:54 of the second.

"We didn't do a good job (of playing with discipline)," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "I think we killed off six minutes of penalties, not good penalties to take, and six minutes of hockey we were spending a lot of energy killing off a good power play from the opposition. The game's not lost there, but we do spend a lot of energy killing off penalties there and wasting energy."

Jamie Oleksiak, who was filling in for Jordie Benn (illness) on the Stars' third defense pair, drew a holding penalty on Sabres forward Tyler Ennis to set up Jamie Benn's power-play goal.

Before that goal, Buffalo had held the Dallas power play, which is second in the NHL (27.7 percent), to 0-for-4 with two shots on goal.

Stars defenseman Jason Demers sustained a lower-body injury in the second period and did not return.

"We'll see how he is tomorrow, but I think he'll miss a little bit of time," Ruff said.

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