DALLAS – The Sabres have gotten away with playing well for just one period numerous times this season. Their luck ran out Thursday.
An ambitious third couldn't make up for long bouts of inactivity during the first and second as Buffalo dropped a 4-3 decision to Dallas. The Sabres were trying to win four in a row for the first time since December 2014.
Buffalo took just five shots in the first period and six in the second, then fired 15 pucks on net in the third. None went in as Dallas held off the rally.
Kane keeps rolling: Evander Kane continued tormenting goaltenders with two goals. All 14 of his goals have come in the last 25 games, and Thursday was his third two-goal outing.
Kane failed to score in his opening 12 games, but he’s been hot since Dec. 3. His 13 even-strength goals in that span are the most in the NHL.
Speed kills: Kane scored his 13th goal with pure speed. The left winger got the puck in his own zone and zoomed up the left boards. He blew past John Klingberg, then shielded the puck from the Dallas defenseman before slipping his shot past goaltender Antti Niemi with 3:44 gone.
Kane helps Moulson: Brian Gionta chipped the puck to Kane at the Dallas blue line, and the left winger again buzzed through the zone. He circled the net before passing to Matt Moulson in front. Moulson connected for his 10th goal of the season, including his eighth on the power play.
After scuffling to eight goals last year, Moulson is on pace for 17 this year. His goal with 9:30 off the clock gave Buffalo a 2-0 lead.
More speed: The Sabres got the power play when Jack Eichel followed Kane’s path down the left side, forcing Klingberg into a holding penalty.
Shots, shots, shots: The Stars outshot the Sabres, 17-5, during the first period. They went to intermission with just a 2-1 deficit when Patrick Sharp scored with 9:01 left. As Sabres goaltender Anders Nilsson craned his neck to look around traffic in front, Sharp released a long shot that found the net.
Active hook: For the seventh time in 14 games, Dallas coach Lindy Ruff yanked his goaltender. When the Stars skated out for the second period, Kari Lehtonen headed to the crease.
Three straight: Dallas scored three goals in a row during the second period to erase its deficit and bolt to a 4-2 lead.
Tie game: The Stars made it 2-2 on the power play just 42 seconds into the second period. Buffalo twice failed on clearing attempts, and Jamie Benn made them pay. He had a clear path to the net to beat Nilsson.
The Sabres’ Dan Bylsma issued a coach’s challenge that Benn was offsides earlier, but referees determined the video was inconclusive.
Sharp shooting: Sharp scored his second of the night with 6:44 to go in the second, stepping to the left faceoff dot and beating Nilsson on the short side.
Own goal: Sabres defenseman Cody Franson pushed the puck into his own net from the crease with 4:36 to go, but it was probably just a matter of time before the Stars did it themselves. Tyler Seguin got credit for the goal after crashing the net with Jason Spezza.
Late boost: Despite getting outshot, 34-11, and out-attempted, 62-27, the Sabres entered the second intermission in just a 4-3 hole. Kane collected his second of the night with a long shot through Gionta’s screen with 1:05 to go.
Active third: The Sabres took 10 of the first 11 shots in the third period, getting denied a goal when Dallas defenseman Esa Lindell skated into the crease to swat the puck away.
Sam Reinhart thought he scored on a backhand with 8:54 to play after he and Jack Eichel saw the puck in the net under Lehtonen. After a very long video review, referees said no goal. There was another long review in the final seconds of regulation when it appeared a Sabres' shot crossed the line, but it was determined the puck didn't completely cross and the game ended after the review.
Penalty: Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian was furious when the officials called him for holding Jason Spezza with 2:18 to play. The Stars had five power plays while the Sabres had two.
Scratches: The Sabres stuck with the same six defensemen, so Casey Nelson was a healthy scratch. Nicolas Deslauriers returned to the press box after playing in Nashville. William Carrier took Deslauriers’ spot as the fourth-line left winger.
Next: Kyle Okposo is headed to Los Angeles for the All-Star Game this weekend. The rest of the Sabres can do what they want. They’re off until practicing Monday. Buffalo resumes its schedule Tuesday night Montreal. The next home game is Thursday when the New York Rangers visit KeyBank Center.