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Texas Sized Rally: Sabres Steal One from Stars

 

 

Buffalo responded to 3-0 second period deficit with a furious third period comeback to tie it and steal a 5-4 win from Dallas in a marathon shootout.

The Stars took control of the game early with two power play goals in the first by Matt Niskanen and Steve Ott, against the second best team in the league on the power play kill. Dallas is 26th in the league in power play scoring at just 14.4%.

Trevor Daley made it 3-0 with an unassisted goal just 2:47 into the second firing the puck past a screened miller from the blue line. The Sabres looked all but dead but took advantage of Dallas penalties and finally converted on the power play when Paul Gaustad scored his fifth of the season. Buffalo finally squeezed down on defense as well, allowing only 3 shots to the Stars after giving up 12 in the first.

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The third period was dominated by Buffalo as they doubled up the Stars in shots, 18-9 and scoring three goals to tie it. Jochen Hecht got thing started three minutes in but Dallas responded as Brad Richards ripped one past Miller just 48 seconds later.

Paul Gaustad scored his second of the game and just 16 seconds later Clarke MacArthur scored his twelfth of the season to tie it at 4.

Although only notching two shots on goal, the overtime was dominated by Buffalo who continued to be the aggressor. They had numerous scoring chances but couldn’t get the puck past Marty Turco.

Both goaltenders were magnificent in the shootout, stopping all three shooters. In the second round Jere Lehtinen, the second shooter for Dallas, was able to snap a wrister top shelf to take the lead.

With the game hanging in the balance, Derek Roy made a beautiful deke and rolled a backhand shot past Turco to keep the Sabres alive. Miller stopped a backhand by Mark Parrish and Jason Pominville won it sneaking a wrister past Turco on the next play to complete the comeback.

Turco played a good game making 31 saves and adding an assist in a record breaking night. In the 421st game of his career he passed Cesare Maniago, who played in 420 games for the Minnesota North Stars from 1967-76. Turco is also the franchise leader in wins with 223.

Ryan Miller got the start after a night off in Chicago and, despite allowing 4 goals, proved to be the difference maker for Buffalo who is 20-11-4 with him and 2-6-3 without him. He made 21 saves including 5 of 6 in the shoot out to secure his 20th win of the season. He also had some help from his offense which was non existent for Patrick Lalime in Chicago Wednesday night.

After getting out played in the first, Buffalo responded with something they’ve lacked most of the season – a sense of urgency. They pressed the puck into Dallas’ zone out shooting the Stars 30-13.

“From the second period on I thought we deserved to win the game.” Coach Lindy Ruff said. “We missed some opportunities early on, usually that comes back to cost you but we kept fighting and played well and I guess we deserved to win the game.”

 

Erich Straub
ProHockey-fans.com Buffalo Sabres Correspondent

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