Sabres' youngsters are learning valuable lessons in the preseason

Sam Reinhart returned and picked up two assists

Paul Hamilton
September 22, 2018 - 10:16 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Sam Reinhart didn’t look like he missed any time as he assisted on the first two Buffalo goals. In the first period, he was right in his office screening Freddie Andersen for Kyle Okposo's power play goal.

Late in the second period, Reinhart took the puck hard to the net and Jeff Skinner cleaned up his rebound for his first in a Sabre uniform.

Reinhart said after his first practice he didn’t feel like he was behind and watching this game tells me he was right. Phil Housley said he was their best forward.

Reinhart started on a line with Patrik Berglund and Evan Rodrigues, but by the second period, he was with Skinner and Jack Eichel.

Reinhart spent quite a bit of time in front of the net, which is why he did so well last season in the final 44 games.

The Leafs went after Rasmus Dahlin and taught him a few lessons. While on the power play, old veteran Patrick Marleau went right at the kid and stole the puck going in alone on Carter Hutton. The Sabres' new netminder made a great save to bail his teammate out.  

In the third period, Dahlin allowed himself to get surrounded by two Leafs and turned the puck over again.

Dahlin had a few more bad passes, but it’s nothing to worry about, he will learn. I thought there were some good things in the third period when he and partner Jake McCabe started using each other as a team.

Justin Bailey is trying to make a difference and had two golden opportunities in front on Calvin Pickard, but was stopped. This was Bailey’s second preseason game and I’ve liked how he’s used his speed in both of them. The problem is he must convert the chances that he's earning around the net.

Thompson got hit hard in the third period by Andrew Nielson. Zach Bogosian came over to challenge the defenseman, but Nielson turned him down. Thompson went over to challenge him himself and it didn’t go well, but at least he showed up.

Thompson’s game was not as good on Saturday. He got caught standing still as Auston Matthews came flying up the ice. He was late getting to him and Matthews took a pass from former Sabre Tyler Ennis for a tap in. The defensive end is a definite weakness in the young kid’s game.

Thompson almost tied the game late in the third period feeding Skinner in the slot, but his shot was deflected.

Housley said he thinks the young guys like Thompson and Dahlin are smart hockey players that are going to learn their system, that’s what preseason and training camp are for.

Buffalo has Sunday off and the back on the ice Monday. The Amerks open their training camp Monday in Rochester.

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