Dallas uses 4-goal 1st period to beat Buffalo 5-1
DALLAS — It was business as usual for Tyler Seguin. A little different for Remi Elie, Antoine Roussel and Gemel Smith.
Seguin scored his fifth power-play goal of the season in Dallas’ four-goal first period, and Stars beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-1 on Saturday night.
Elie and Roussel each scored their first goal of the season, and Smith had his first two assists.
“Hard-working players got rewarded for their hard work,” Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock said. “Guys that had been snake-bitten all the first part of the year, hadn’t scored, all of a sudden they’re feeling good about themselves and they’re contributing. So the whole bench was excited.”
Seguin’s goal on a slap shot from the left faceoff circle made it 4-0 just 12:51 into the game.
The Stars’ league-leading power play scored on their only man advantage of the night. Dallas has scored on 13 of 40 opportunities (33 percent) in 14 games.
“It probably came a bit too easy to them,” Buffalo center Jack Eichel said. “They’ve got a good power play.”
Elie, Radek Faksa and Stephen Johns also scored in the first, and Roussel added a second-period goal. Defenseman John Klingberg had a season-high three assists.
“That’s what we need,” Klingberg said. “Seguin’s line is probably going to play a lot of heavy minutes against the tough line every home game and I think they’re winning that battle right now, but we need other guys to score on the team.”
Johns’ goal chased goaltender Robin Lehner at 10:27. Lehner made only four saves before Chad Johnson came in and stopped 13 shots.
Kari Lehtonen had 27 saves to win his second straight start after three losses to start the season.
“When it gets to four goals or five goals, just go shot after shot,” Lehtonen said. “Don’t think too much.”
Hitchcock said Lehtonen will receive more playing time behind Ben Bishop.
“I’ve got two starting goalies, so I ought to use them,” he said. “That’s a real bonus for us. It’s a strength of the organization.”
Ryan O’Reilly broke up Lehtonen’s shutout bid by winning a faceoff and sending a shot between the goalie’s legs late in the second.
Elie opened the scoring at 3:09 of the first. Roussel intercepted Lehner’s clearing pass on the left-wing boards and sent a slap shot at the goal. Elie took the rebound in front for a short wrist shot into the net.
Faksa scored at 7:07. Lehner deflected Smith’s cross-ice pass in front of the net and on to Faksa’s stick for a tip-in.
“I thought we had the start we wanted,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “We were forcing the issue, and just a couple bad bounces. It’s unfortunate they capitalized on their chances. I give (the Stars) credit. They went to the net hard.”
Smith also assisted on Johns’ goal, dropping a pass back into the slot for the defenseman. Johns put a wrist shot past Lehner.
NOTES: The Stars have won five straight home games. They have defeated Buffalo the last six times the Sabres have visited Dallas. … The Stars were without C Martin Hanzal (lower-body injury) and RW Brett Ritchie (upper body). Neither is expected to play Monday vs. Winnipeg. … Faksa (lower body) and C Tyler Pitlick (undisclosed injury) left the game, and are considered day to day. . O’Reilly has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in his last nine games. … Elie’s goal was his second in 29 career games.
Sabres: Host Washington on Tuesday.
Stars: Host Winnipeg on Monday in the second of a three-game homestand.