He’s Got the Power! (Stars Gazing; 01.23.23)

Ross James/ALOST

akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

DALLAS — It took almost 10 minutes before the Buffalo Sabres were able to register their first shot on goal in a game mostly dominated by their opponent, but all that mattered is that their last shot went into the back of the net. And from the unlikeliest of sources, no less.

Owen Power scored his first goal of the season, and did so 56 seconds into overtime as the Sabres defeated the Dallas Stars 3-2 inside American Airlines Center on Monday evening. Rasmus Dahlin and Victor Olofsson also scored for Buffalo, winners of three straight games.

Buffalo was able to overcome a 14-8 shot disadvantage in the first period, an early power-play goal from the Stars’ Jamie Benn at the 1:48 mark, and not registering a shot on goal for the first 9:40 of the game.

“The ice was a little funny, and the puck was not sitting at all. That gave us some trouble, and we got in our own heads, and we couldn’t simplify and couldn’t feel the puck like normal,” Sabres head coach Don Granato said. “This is one hell of a hockey team. You play against $80 million in players every night, and they will take advantage of simple mistakes. We were struggling at first until we found our legs and found our game.

Rasmus Dahlin, second in the NHL in goals and points by a defenseman, tied the game at the 11:29 mark of the first period and, after a scoreless second period, Victor Olofsson gave the Sabres their first lead of the game early in the third with his 22nd goal of the season at the 1:44 mark.

Jason Robertson tallied his 32nd goal of the season with just over 14 minutes remaining in regulation to even the score again and force overtime. In the overtime session, Buffalo scored on its first entry into the offensive zone. Power’s shot from the left wing hit the outside of the post before the Sabres regained possession, and, a few seconds after the close call, Tage Thompson found Power on the right wing for a one-timer that beat Stars goalkeeper Jake Oettinger to end the contest.

“It was nice,” Power said about his third-career NHL goal. “I had the open space there and it was nice to get it.”

None of Power’s heroics would have been possible without the stellar play of 41-year-old Craig Anderson in goal, who stopped 29 shots in the contest, with many of those attempts being grade-A scoring chances from Dallas as the Stars unleashed a barrage at Buffalo’s goal to start the game.

“Bailing the team out there in the first [period] and making some big saves there, allowing us to get our legs. Goaltenders are the last line of defense, and when you can make a big save and elevate the team’s morale, it’s a great feeling,” Anderson said. “The adrenaline kicks in and makes you want to keep coming back. The boys rallied after that. We were able to settle in and get up [on the scoreboard] with a tie and find a way to get it done in the rest of the game. Kudos to the boys for settling in. That’s a good team [in Dallas], the last few games we saw during pre-scout they came out of the gate flying and got a couple of leads. I tried to mentally prepare for a quick start from them.”

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Monday evening’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 11 pictures in total.

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