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Sabres earn hard-fought road victory against Stars

Vesey, Dahlin, Frolik, Girgensons score in Buffalo's first win in Dallas in 11 years

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

DALLAS - With a strong defensive effort, the Buffalo Sabres picked up their first win in Dallas since 2009 on Thursday. 

They found themselves with limited offensive zone time for much of the second period of their game against the Dallas Stars, but managed to skate away with a 4-1 victory at American Airlines Center. 

The Sabres held a 1-0 lead after the first period thanks to a goal by Jimmy Vesey, but the Stars upped their pressure in the second.

Dallas outshot the Sabres 16-5 in the period, but the Sabres came out of the period with the lead. Stars captain Jamie Benn tied the game 4:28 into the second, and then with the Sabres being outshot 14-2 with 3:50 remaining, Rasmus Dahlin's shot from the point found its way through a screen and in past Ben Bishop. 


Video: Ullmark, Okposo lead Sabres to 4-1 win vs. Stars

"I thought the second period, actually, scoring chance-wise was pretty even," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. "They had more shots than we did, but if you look at the game storyline, you had to expect some pushback after being up on them after the first and they gave a strong push. 

"….I was just really proud with how the guys came out in the third and were comfortable with the 2-1 lead once we had it and just managed it. …I thought it was just a really good evening of learning for us and growing. Just pleased with the team effort that happened here throughout the whole game."

Buffalo closed out the game with a pair of empty net goals from Michael Frolik and Zemgus Girgensons.

Frolik's goal, his first as a Sabre, came shorthanded with 2:16 remaining in the third period. 

"We came out stronger and we ended up good. In the second period, we didn't do really well, but we played hard, simple, puck north, and that's how we should play," Dahlin said.

"They were coming out strong there in the second period and they kept going the whole period. We did a good job too there, keeping them away from our goal. They had a couple chances, but we figured that out." 

Video: Michael Frolik with Rayzor

Frolik echoed those earlier sentiments about the way team defended. Dallas' power play went 0-for-4 on the night.

"It was pretty outstanding from us in the third period. We were pretty good in the neutral zone. We created some turnovers there and I think we had a couple good shifts," he said. "Offensively, we hang onto the puck and have some good, heavy shifts there. Then in the end, a big kill from us and from the whole group. A great effort tonight. The second period wasn't really our period, but coming through the third, I thought we were pretty solid there. Big two points for us."

First time in a long time

The Sabres picked up their first win in Dallas since Jan. 15, 2009. In that game, a 5-4 shootout win, Paul Gaustad scored twice, Jason Pominville potted the deciding goal, and Ryan Miller out-dueled Marty Turco in net. The Stars had been 7-0-0 in home games against Buffalo since then. 

With the win, Buffalo now has multiple wins in a season against the Stars for the first time since they won five straight matchups to sweep the 1984-85 and 1985-86 season series.

The Sabres are also on a three-game winning streak. 

Staying hot

Linus Ullmark made 28 saves to pick up his 16th win of the season, setting a career high in victories. Thursday's win marked his first ever against Dallas.

Jack Eichel extended his point streak to nine games with an assist on Vesey's goal. Eichel has four goals and seven assists over that stretch. Rasmus Ristolainen is now on a four-game point streak (1+3).

Meanwhile, Sam Reinhart, who recorded the primary assist on Vesey's marker, has 20 points (7+13) in his last 20 games.

Dahlin making history

Video: POSTGAME: Dahlin

The Sabres were being outshot 14-2 in the second period when Dahlin's wrist shot beat Bishop with 3:50 remaining in the second period in large part to a screen set up by Curtis Lazar. 

According to TSN's stats account @StatsCentre, Dahlin passed Scott Stevens for the fifth most career points recorded by a teenage defenseman (71). He now trails only Phil Housley (132), Ray Bourque (79), Rick Hampton (76) and Bobby Orr (72). Dahlin turns 20 on April 13, a week after the end of the regular season. 

Tweet from @StatsCentre: Counting the game winner in a 4-1 @BuffaloSabres defeat of the Stars on Thursday night, Rasmus Dahlin (not 20 until after 2019-20) moved into 5th on a list he seems poised to finish 2nd on by season's end

Dahlin has recorded a goal and five assists in his last six games. His .68 points per game so far this season represent the best scoring rate by a Sabres defenseman since Brian Campbell (.68) in 2007-08.

Up next

The Sabres are set to practice in Nashville on Friday as they prepare for their game against the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Their dads are on the trip and they'll be at practice, so stay tuned for full coverage on and the team's social channels. 

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: James Vesey when @19Vesey scored is giving us ALL THE FEELS

Faceoff for Saturday's game - Buffalo's last before the All-Star break - is set for 8 p.m. ET with pregame coverage on MSG starting at 7:30. 

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