BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP)—Things could only get better for the Buffalo Sabres after two straight shutouts to start the season.
The Sabres finally discovered their offense against the Stars, who had won their first two games by a combined score of 7-2.
“I thought it was a really great win against a team that was really rolling,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “We battled through a lot and had a lot of good efforts out there.”
Ales Kotalik snapped the Sabres’ scoreless streak at 124 minutes, 36 seconds with a goal in the first period. After taking a pass from Chris Drury at the Stars blue line, Kotalik skated in and took a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that beat goaltender Marty Turco between his legs at 4:36.
Just 29 seconds later, the Sabres scored again as Taylor Pyatt lifted a wrist shot over Turco’s shoulder.
“It was a great start for us,” Ruff said. “It was a game where everyone got involved.”
Stu Barnes made it 2-1 with his third goal of the season for Dallas, putting the puck past Martin Biron on a rebound. Barnes played 310 games for the Sabres in five seasons before being traded to the Stars in March.
“Any time you can come back and play an old team it’s always a little bit weird,” Barnes said. “But you try to put those things in the past and just go out and play.”
In his first start of the season, Biron made a huge save with 1:07 remaining to preserve the win.
With the Stars on the power play, Bill Guerin was left standing alone to the left of Biron when the puck found his stick. Guerin took a quick backhand and started to raise his hands to signal a goal before Biron dived and snagged the puck right above the goal line.
“I went one way and the puck ended up going the other way,” said Biron, who made 18 saves. “I just threw my glove up in the air and I was fortunate enough and lucky enough that it caught the glove and stayed out of the net.”
Modano played just 11:57 while Zubov, averaging over 25 minutes of ice time heading into the game, got only 14:53 against Buffalo.
“We didn’t play well and didn’t deserve to be out there,” Modano said. “I think it was a pretty straightforward message. Our heads just weren’t in it at the start.”
Briere pushed Buffalo’s lead to 3-1 midway through the second period. After his penalty expired, Briere rushed out of the penalty box and took a lead pass from Satan and went in alone on Turco, deking him on the forehand.
“That was a big goal at a key part of the game,” Ruff said.
Satan’s power-play goal at 16:30 of the second period made it 4-1.
“It was an important game because after our last game we couldn’t afford to have another one like that,” said Satan, referring to Buffalo’s 6-0 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday. “It was a positive thing to come up with a win, especially against a team like that.”
Dallas brought in backup goaltender Ron Tugnutt at the start of the third for his first appearance of the season.
“You’re not going to score five goals much in this game so it’s what you give up,” Tippett said. “We gave up too much.”
The Sabres stopped Dallas’ six-game regular season winning streak, dating to last season. Dallas started 2-0 this season. Buffalo avoided its first 0-3 start in the team’s 34-year history.
The Stars were short-handed as forward Jere Lehtinen was scratched due to back spasms. Lehtinen injured his shoulder in the Stars’ opening-game victoryover Anaheim but played Saturday in Nashville.
Guerin played his 800th NHL game. … The Sabres scratched G Ryan Miller, who started their first two games. … The Stars have three former Sabres on their roster—Barnes, Boucher and Pierre Turgeon while Buffalo’sJason Botterill was the Stars’ first round draft pick in 1994.