Niemi gets 2nd shutout and Stars beat Sabres 3-0
DALLAS (AP) Antti Niemi is a man of few words, and sometimes even fewer goals.
Niemi's 34th career shutout, his second this season, helped the Dallas Stars beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-0 on Saturday night.
''It's always nice, but I just worry about the win,'' Niemi said. ''3-0, 3-1, I just want the win.''
Niemi made 22 saves to shut down a Sabres team that has only scored four goals in their last four games.
''He made some really big saves, especially early on when we had the power play,'' captain Jamie Benn said. ''We gave up a couple of short-handed breakaways, 2-on-1s, and he was there to back us up. It was pretty impressive to see. He definitely earned that shutout.''
Benn scored two-third period goals. His first was at 7:11 on the power play after the Stars failed to score on their first four man advantages. He scored again at 9:04, and Tyler Seguin assisted on both goals.
Antoine Roussel celebrated his 26th birthday by giving Dallas a 1-0 lead 6:22 into the first. All four of his goals this season have come at home.
''I don't think I ever scored on my birthday, maybe once in junior,'' he said.
The Stars have won eight of their last nine games and lead the league with 34 points.
Benn moved into the NHL lead with 14 goals, and John Klingberg briefly did the same with his 19th assist on Roussel's goal. Both passed Chicago's Patrick Kane, though Kane tied Klingberg with one assist during a 6-3 loss to Vancouver later in the night.
Buffalo's Chad Johnson made 29 saves, including 15 in the third period. The Sabres are 3-2-2 in their last seven games, with both regulation losses to Dallas.
Roussel took a long pass from Klingberg at the red line and skated to the top of the left faceoff circle. From there, he sent a wrist shot off defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen's stick and under the glove of a surprised Johnson.
Dallas failed to score on four power plays, and Buffalo on one during the second period.
The Sabres had a 5-on-3 advantage for 54 seconds extending into the second period, but couldn't score.
''Special teams was big,'' Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. ''They had the early 5-on-3, and I thought we had a great kill. We had the opportunities in the second with our power plays, and a lot of things went wrong.
''But I thought the third period was as good period as we could have played.''
Buffalo coach Dan Bylsma said killing the second-period penalties wore down his team.
''Six minutes of hockey we were spending a lot of energy killing off a good power play,'' he said. ''We even had some opportunities to score short-handed. The game's not lost there but we do spend a lot of energy.''
The Sabres' Evander Kane served a double minor for high sticking in the second, but Dallas couldn't score.
After that penalty expired, Niemi kicked away rookie Jack Eichel's close-in shot.
''I got to get the puck over the goalie's pad,'' Eichel said. ''That's a play where I need to capitalize and build some momentum for our team, and I wasn't able to.''
That wasn't Niemi's only tough save.
''He didn't have a lot of action,'' Ruff said, ''but he had Eichel in alone, a Ristolainen save and (Brian) Gionta coming down on the 2-on-1. He had probably four or five really good saves for us.''
NOTES: After the goal by Roussel, a native of France, the PA system played the opening lines of La Marseillais. His 38 career goals are the most by any French national. Roussel appeared to be emotional on the bench, but he could have been laughing. ''''It's a running gag with the guys. They just did something to get the boys pumped up.''... Dallas entered the game with the NHL's second-best power play at 28 percent, and Buffalo was third at 23 percent. ... Stars D Jordie Benn (illness) missed the game, and D Jason Demers (lower-body injury) didn't play after the second period. Ruff said he expected Demers to miss more time.