Sabres' Nylander gets another chance to show what he can do

Linus Ullmark gets back in net against Dallas

Paul Hamilton
March 12, 2019 - 2:10 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports


Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - With Jack Eichel suspended for two games and Alex Nylander scoring goals in four straight games, it seemed like a perfect time to call up the former first round pick. 

Nylander had 12 goals and 19 assists in 49 games with the Amerks this season. He said he was ecstatic when Chris Taylor told him he was coming to Buffalo, “I was very happy and excited, it was my first call up this year. I’ve been playing good down there and I’m happy to get this opportunity.”

Some people thought Nylander earned a spot on this team out of training camp, while others are surprised it took all season for him to get called up. Nylander said, “We have a lot of good players down there and I’ve just been waiting for my opportunity and ready to take it now.”

Nylander had those four goals in four games and he says there are reasons why he’s starting to score, “I’m getting more to the scoring areas, I’m shooting more pucks. I know I have a good shot, so I have to keep shooting and playing my game.”

Nylander will play with Evan Rodrigues and Conor Sheary. The winger said he’s worked to improve his overall game, “It’s been in all areas. We have a really great group of guys down there that have helped me and it’s improved in all areas.”

Nylander has to be careful he doesn’t try to do too much. He said, “I just want to show that I can be here and I know I’m ready for this.” Nylander has 30 goals in 175 AHL games and a goal and an assist in seven NHL contests.

Linus Ullmark will be in goal against Dallas. He has given up 11 goals in his last three starts, winning one of those games.

Zemgus Girgensons did not play a physical style of game in Colorado and he will be a healthy scratch. Casey Nelson is also out after his embarrassing response to Nikita Zadorov’s cheap shot to Jack Eichel. I asked Phil Housley about the response and he said, “I'm not going to get into that. We had a discussion with him and we'll just keep that in house."

Housley said he has also not liked Nelson’s game as of late, “It was mainly just his play. I think his play has dipped the last couple of games and we’ve got some other guys that are available (Matt Hunwick) and we haven’t had a lot of success, so we made some changes.”

The Sabres have fallen to 22nd overall in the league with a points percentage of .507. Dallas is 16th at .551.

The Stars are in fourth place in the Central Division, four points in back of St. Louis. Dallas holds down the Western Conference’s first Wild Card spot.

The Stars just had their four-game winning streak broken, losing to Chicago 2-1 on Saturday.

Ben Bishop shut out the Sabres 1-0 in Dallas and has only given up one goal in his last three starts. The Stars are third in the NHL in goals-against, giving up just three goals in their last four games.

The team has seven shutouts this year, with Bishop picking up five of them. Bishop is 22-14-2 with a 2.13 goals-against and .930 save percentage.

The Stars' President criticized Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn for their play earlier this season. Seguin has 27 goals, while Benn has chipped in with 25.

In the game in Dallas, the Stars came out hitting the Sabres at every turn and it took a full period for a response. Zach Bogosian and Jake McCabe opened the second period trying to match the physical play, but word has gotten around the league that if you hit the Sabres, they’ll go away. Scott Wilson said you have to have the want to stand up to it, “Yes, some of the best players in the league are super small and they play physical.

“They might not be blowing guys up, but just getting your body in there on their hands and using your body to your advantage. I think some of the smaller guys may even do it better or they wouldn’t be able to play in the league. (Jeff Skinner)

“We need a few guys to throw a few extra hits early in the game and it’ll go a long way.”

Join Schopp and the Bulldog for the pre-game starting at 6:00 live from (716) Food and Sport when they’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Alex Nylander and Scott Wilson.

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