Jamie Benn scored the game’s only goal midway through the first period, and Ben Bishop stopped 30 shots to earn his third shutout of the season as the Dallas Stars returned from the All-Star break with a gutsy 1-0 victory over the visiting Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday.
Bishop recorded the 27th clean sheet of his 10-season NHL career and improved his career record against the Sabres to 11-0-1 with a 1.42 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage in 12 games. It was his first time facing Buffalo as a member of the Stars.
Fourteen of Bishop’s saves came in the third period, with nine of those over the final four minutes as Buffalo pressed for the equalizer.
Bishop’s effort down the stretch was helped by a nearly two-minute stretch in which Dallas kept the puck in the Sabres’ offensive zone in search of an insurance goal — and the fact that Buffalo goaltender Linus Ullmark could not leave the ice for an extra attacker until one minute was left in the game.
Benn put the Stars in front at the 8:39 mark of the opening period when he took a pass from Taylor Fedun after a turnover in the Sabres’ zone and slipped the puck under the pads of Ullmark. That, thanks to Bishop, was all Dallas needed.
Ullmark was also solid between the pipes, turning away 26 of the 27 shots he faced.
Buffalo remained stuck on 25 wins for the year, a total that already equals its number of victories from the entire 82-game 2017-18 season. The Sabres, who beat Columbus on the road on Tuesday, are now 5-3-2 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.
Newly acquired defenseman Jamie Oleksiak played his first game for the Stars on Wednesday since Dec. 9, 2017. Oleksiak, who was a first-round draft pick of Dallas in 2011, returned to the team in a trade with Pittsburgh on Monday.
The Stars head back to the ice Friday when they host Minnesota in the final game of a six-game homestand. Buffalo returns home to host Chicago, also on Friday.