Sabres' Dahlin is growing before our eyes

Phil Housley said Rasmus Dahlin has earned all the extra playing time he's getting

Paul Hamilton
December 13, 2018 - 12:34 pm

Photo courtesy of @BuffaloSabres

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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Now that Rasmus Dahlin has gotten to know his teammates better, his play has been better too. In the beginning, it was an 18-year-old in a new country with all new teammates. Now, he lives with Casey Mittelstadt and Tage Thompson and is more than happy to joke around with the guys. Dahlin said, “Yes of course, when you’re feeling comfortable in the locker-room, you feel more comfortable on the ice, so yes, that’s a big part of it.”

In the first 20 games of the season, Dahlin averaged 18:14 per-game, but on November 19 in Pittsburgh, Dahlin played 22:49 and hasn’t been under 20 minutes since. In the 11 games playing in the top-four, Dahlin has averaged almost 24 minutes per-game which is second to Rasmus Ristolainen, who has played 26:29 per-outing. Phil Housley said they had a plan for the rookie and stuck to it, “He’s been able to play in all situations, play late in games and late in periods where early in the season, I don’t think there was a lot of trust and he had to develop and earn that trust.”

Dahlin got frustrated in the Los Angeles game, missing two one-timers that were right in his wheelhouse. Dahlin slammed his stick on the ice and then broke it. Ristolainen sat next to him on the bench and talked to him to calm him down. Dahlin appreciated that from his teammate, “It’s awesome, it’s what teammates are for, when a guy’s down, you help him out to make him happy again and that’s what he did the last game.”

The Sabres are 1-1-1 in this homestand and 10-3-2 overall in the arena. The come-from-behind win over the Kings on Tuesday broke the team’s five-game losing streak and has them three points behind Toronto for second place in the Atlantic Division. Boston trails the Sabres by two points, while Montreal is five points back.

On Nov. 29, Buffalo led Tampa Bay by one-point for first overall in the NHL. The Lightning are now nine points in front of Buffalo.

Jack Eichel is still ninth in league scoring with 38 points in 31 games. That would give him 101 points over 82 games. Eichel now has 19 points in his last 13 games.

Linus Ullmark had a 36-save shutout in Arizona, but Carter Hutton returns after missing three games due to injury. Hutton is 12-8-1 for a 2.60 goals-against and .917 save percentage.

The Sabres' power play went 2-for-8 against the Kings, but watch out for the Coyotes' penalty killing. It’s No. 1 in the NHL, but more importantly, they've scored 11 shorthanded goals.

Arizona is the first team in NHL history to be plus-5 at any point in the season in shorthanded goals to power play goals allowed.

Darcy Kuemper will be in goal for the Coyotes. He’s 4-6-2 with a 2.82 goals-against and .909 save percentage. Clayton Keller leads Arizona in scoring with 21 points in 29 games, but Nick Schmaltz has been red-hot since being acquired from Chicago, scoring four goals and three assists for seven points in seven games.

On the other side of that trade, Dylan Strome has four goals in nine games with the Blackhawks.

Join the Bulldog for the pre-game starting at 6:00 live from (716) Food and Sport when he’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Carter Hutton, Rasmus Dahlin and Rasmus Ristolainen.

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