Desperate for a boost going into the All-Star break, the Dallas Stars got one thanks to Patrick Sharp and Kari Lehtonen.
Sharp scored twice for the second time in five games and the Stars rallied from an early two-goal deficit to beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on Thursday night.
Sharp upped his total to six goals this season and Lehtonen improved to 10-13-6. He allowed one goal and made 21 saves after replacing Antti Niemi to start the second period.
Niemi was lifted for the third consecutive start.
Connecting you to your favorite North Texas sports teams as well as sports news around the globe.
Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin also scored for Dallas, which stopped a three-game losing streak.
"It's just a matter of stringing some games together and staying within striking distance `cause a good or bad week or two can do a lot for you," Sharp said.
The game ended only after a review following the final horn of a near Buffalo goal by Ryan O'Reilly with 11 seconds left. It was the third video review, and they all went against the Sabres.
"I think the answer is they don't definitively know that it crossed the whole goal line," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said about the final review. "I think we can all see it passed the crossbar. That's the answer."
Dallas coach Lindy Ruff's observation of that review: "It was — you can print — pretty damn close."
Evander Kane scored twice for the Sabres, who were looking to win four straight games for the first time since December 2014. Matt Moulson had Buffalo's other goal.
The win improved Dallas to 20-20-10 going into the second half. Last year's top seed in the Western Conference barely avoided being under .500 after 50 games for the first time since 1995-96.
The Stars went into the game having lost in overtime and in a shootout in their previous two games. They improved to 5-14-7 when giving up the first goal.
"You can feel the frustration," Ruff said of the two previous finishes. "Give them credit for digging in, fighting back."
Anders Nilsson (8-7-4) absorbed his fourth loss in the past five decisions.
Kane's first goal came on Buffalo's third shot. In Niemi's two previous starts, he allowed a goal on the opponent's first shot. Niemi gave up two goals on five shots overall this time.
Ruff said he decided Thursday morning to start Niemi, who was sick, over Lehtonen, who was dehydrated.
The Stars outshot the Sabres 37-27, including 34-11 through the first two periods. Lehtonen faced only six shots in the second before the Sabres registered 16 in the third.
"The key is to get some saves quickly, get going," Lehtonen said. "But that really didn't happen until the third period."
Sharp scored at 10:59 of the first period on a wrist shot from beyond the left circle with Nilsson screened. Sharp beat Nilsson to the short side on another wrister at 13:16 of the second for his sixth of the season to put Dallas ahead 3-2.
Seguin's goal gave him 18, tying Patrick Eaves for the team lead. It was knocked across the goal line by Buffalo's Cody Franson during a scrum in the crease.
Benn's goal tied the score at 2 only 42 seconds into the second period on the continuation of a first-period power play. Buffalo challenged the goal, claiming offside, but the review was ruled inconclusive.
A long review midway through the third period resulted in no change of a no-goal call against Sam Reinhart.
"It's a little frustrating when you're behind the net and you see it in," Reinhart said.
Lauri Korpikoski assisted on Sharp's first goal, giving him 199 career points. ... The teams split their two-game season series played in a span of 11 days. The Sabres won 4-1 on Jan. 16 in Buffalo. ... The Stars have used both goalies in seven of their last 14 games, winning four.
Stars: The fourth game on a six-game homestand, their longest of the season, will be Tuesday vs. Toronto.
Sabres: Buffalo will come out of the All-Star break playing Tuesday at Montreal, where it has won on four of its last five visits.