The Sabres keep the streak alive

Casey Mittelstadt returns home as Buffalo comes back to beat the Wild

Paul Hamilton
November 17, 2018 - 10:34 pm

Photo: Marilyn Indahl - USA TODAY Sports


St. Paul, MN (WGR 550) - Casey Mittelstadt played his first NHL game at home against the Wild on Saturday night. The kid said his parents had to deal with over 100 tickets to get family and friends to the game. Mittelstadt said before the game that he wasn’t be nervous, “It should be fun, I’ll have a lot of people here, but I’ve played in here before so that helps a little bit.”

Hockey is king in the state of Minnesota and it’s a big deal to play in this building, “It’s pretty special, I had tickets growing up, my dad’s business always had them and obviously the State Tournament and the big deal that comes with that, so it’s pretty special to come back. It’s nice to be in the state of Minnesota.”

Mittelstadt hardly had the puck in this game, but there were other plays I want to talk about. The first is the goal by Zach Parise. Everybody wants to blame Zach Bogosian for everything, but maybe blame doesn’t always have to be placed.

Bogosian takes a quick look and sees his partner, Rasmus Dahlin open near the bench. There is no way Bogosian can know that Dahlin is thinking of changing and does. All of a sudden, Dahlin sees the puck coming and then doesn’t know what to do. At the end of the day, neither one is at fault, it’s just a bad break.

Parise winds up with the puck and scores from the right circle. That’s where I have the problem, I need my goaltender to make a save for me there.

Same thing on Matt Dumba’s power play blast from the point. Linus Ullmark wasn’t screened and the puck didn’t hit anybody. At the end of the day, Ullmark has to keep his team in the game by stopping both those goals. The Sabres netminder got himself together for the rest of the game and did keep his team in the game slamming the door.

After that poor first period, he stopped Jason Zucker on a breakaway and Charlie Coyle on a one-timer from the slot.

Dahlin was a force in this game. I think he really showed us something. He played probably his worst game as a Sabre in Winnipeg and followed it up with his best game in Minnesota.

Jake McCabe scored Buffalo’s first goal, but it was Dahlin flying through the slot finding McCabe off the post with a beautiful pass.

In the third period, Buffalo tied it by getting the puck to the paint and guess who led the play and was right in the crease? Yes, it was Dahlin who scored his second goal of the season.

After the game, I asked Dahlin if it was his best game as a Sabre and he asked me offensively or defensively? He really didn’t like his defensive game.

Later, he turned and got into transition sending Conor Sheary in, who shot high and wide. He also found Johan Larsson by himself in the circle, but Larsson took way too much time to shoot.

Just watching Dahlin, you can tell he’s playing with all sorts of confidence. He’s not being timid about trying the things that only Dahlin will try.

This game looked like it was heading to overtime, but Jason Pominville had other thoughts. Phil Housley put him back on a line with Jack Eichel and with 1:30 left, he spun to the backhand and scored the game-winning goal.

I can’t lie to you and say I thought the Sabres would do very well during this four-game stretch against Tampa Bay, Winnipeg, Minnesota and Pittsburgh, but here they are 3-0-0 and on a five-game winning streak. I think the thing that makes it more amazing is Buffalo didn’t play well during large parts of the game against the Lightning, Jets and Wild, but it didn't matter, they stuck with it. Now, they’re guaranteed six out of eight points during this stretch, and could come home Monday night with all eight.

The Sabres are off in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

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