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Sabres put together complete effort in 4-0 win over Stars

Olofsson becomes 1st player in NHL history to score each of his 1st 7 career goals on the power play, Hutton earns 1st shutout of season

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

It's no secret that Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop has had a lot of success against the Buffalo Sabres in his career. 

He entered the game 12-0-1 with a 1.37 goals-against average and a .951 save percentage against Buffalo. His 12-game winning streak against the Sabres was tied with Pekka Rinne's streak against Edmonton for the longest active streak in the NHL for a goaltender against a single opponent. Bishop had shut the Sabres out in each of their last two meetings, and Dallas had also won the last five matchups, with Buffalo's last head-to-head win coming on Jan. 16, 2017. 

Impressive numbers, for sure. But Monday afternoon, one shot opened the door to end Bishop's run. And what a shot it was. 

Sabres rookie Victor Olofsson rifled a one-timer into the top corner 6:27 into the second period to give Buffalo the lead, paving the way for a 4-0 Sabres victory at KeyBank Center.

Video: DAL@BUF: Olofsson blasts one-timer for PPG

Bishop finished the game with 18 saves. 

"He's a great goalie. It's not easy when you play great goalies like that," Sabres winger Jeff Skinner said. "You've got to find ways to get pucks to the net and traffic in front of him. I think you've got try to sustain some O-zone time, too, and keep the pressure on him. We were able to do that at times and it swung momentum in our favor and we were able to capitalize on that."

In Buffalo's two previous games, the opposition rallied back from two-goal deficits. The Sabres managed to win both of those contests in overtime and the shootout. On Monday, they were able to not only hold the lead, but build upon it. Even though Buffalo was outshot 12-3 in the third period against Dallas, they scored twice, held strong defensively and shut the door.

"We didn't force things. We kept playing the same way and we kept playing smart," alternate captain Marcus Johansson said. "We didn't really give them much and that was key."

Video: Olofsson sets NHL record, Sabres shut out Stars

Johansson was one of four goal scorers on the day for Buffalo. Skinner and Sam Reinhart also tallied. Captain Jack Eichel recorded two assists for his third multi-point game of the young season, and defenseman Henri Jokiharju notched his first point as a Sabre with an assist on Skinner's goal. Carter Hutton earned the shutout with 25 saves.

"That's a good team. They play a tight game, defend well and they don't give you much room, and I think that's what you saw in the first period," Skinner said. "We got one there on the power play, we were able to get some momentum off of it. 

"That's the way it's going to be in this league, especially when you're playing good teams like that. It's going to be tight, you're going to have to be patient and you have to keep playing tight defensively and wait for your opportunities, and when you get them, you have to capitalize."


Olofsson makes history

Video: Victor Olofsson Broadcast Interview

With his fifth power-play goal of the season, Olofsson became the first player in NHL history to score each of his first seven career goals with the man advantage.

Since he made his NHL debut on March 28, 2019 against Detroit, no NHL player has scored more power-play goals than Olofsson's seven in 12 games played. His five power-play goals this season tie James Neal for the league lead.

The Sabres' power-play came into the game as the top-ranked special teams unit in the NHL and they finished the game 1-for-2 with the man advantage. They're now at 42.9 percent efficiency on the season. Olofsson has five of the Sabres' nine power-play goals this year.

"It's obviously fun to have some kind of record, even if I want to get that 5-on-5 goal as well," he said. "It felt a lot better today - my overall game - and I'm sure it will come soon."

Olofsson posted a goal and an assist in 18:12 of action. He now has nine points (6+3) in 12 career games.

What makes Olofsson's shot so dangerous? 

"These younger guys have the whippy sticks and it's hard to pick up their release," Hutton said. "The puck flight isn't flat. It floats a little bit, it's almost like a riser. It's hard to save in practice so I can't imagine when he's bombing them on the power play and there's traffic and stuff. He's a pure goal scorer, that's for sure."

Head coach Ralph Krueger was happy with the way Olofsson's defensive game and play without the puck has developed.

"Just in general, if you look at somebody in a rookie season dealing with the pace we've had here right off the hop and the pressure that we're putting on ourselves right now to perform and to maintain a certain level, he's one of many players today that I could speak about playing on both sides of the puck," Krueger said. 

"I mean, everybody's working hard back and they're finding their work and we were much more physical tonight than we were in the last two games. 

"Victor does his job, and that line in general, they had 5-1 scoring chances 5-on-5 playing against a couple of the top players in the world. I think that's a real compliment to what the Eichel line's doing defensively."


25 saves on 25 shots

Video: DAL@BUF: Hutton makes 25 saves to shut out Stars

Hutton earned his first shutout of the season, and his first in 52 starts with Buffalo. After stopping all 25 shots he faced, Hutton improved to 4-0-0 on the season.

Buffalo is now 5-0-1 to start the 2019-20 campaign. It's the team's best record through six games since they posted an identical 5-0-1 record through their first six games of the 2008-09 season.

The Sabres have worked hard this season to limit high-danger chances in the defensive zone, and that has been a big reason for the team's success so far.

"It's something I've talked about a bit, especially playing for a few different teams and you understand the successful teams [have] good structure," Hutton said. "The offense is going to come and go. There's going to be nights where you can't find the back of the net. It's going to be tough and it's going to be a battle. 

"But if you can consistently defend hard and keep pucks out of your net, you're going to have a good chance every night."


Shooting down the Stars

Buffalo's 4-0 win marked the largest winning margin the Sabres have recorded against the Stars franchise since a 6-2 win on March 9, 1988 at Minnesota, according to @SabresPR.

It also marked the Sabres' fourth-ever shutout against the Stars franchise and the first since a 5-0 win on Dec. 8, 1974 at Buffalo Memorial Auditorium.


Up next

The Sabres are off to California for a three-game road trip. They'll practice tomorrow in Anaheim and then play the Ducks on Wednesday. Stay tuned for full coverage on Sabres.com. 

The Ducks are coming off to a 4-2 loss at Boston on Monday.

"Any time you get off to a good start and get results, confidence naturally comes with that," Skinner said. "What you have to do is keep working at your game and use the confidence in a positive way. We still have things to work on, we still have things we want to improve. Being able to get off to a good start results-wise is nice. Now we have to keep that momentum going."

Buffalo's next home game is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 22 against the San Jose Sharks.

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