Sabres' Olofsson has a succesful NHL debut

The rookie set up Jack Eichel's game-tying goal late in the third period

Paul Hamilton
March 28, 2019 - 10:29 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Victor Olofsson went right to work in his first NHL game. Sam Reinhart set the winger up in the slot, but Jimmy Howard stopped Olofsson and then robbed Reinhart on the rebound.

A few minutes later, Reinhart just missed sending Olofsson down the slot alone. I think nerves may have gotten in the way there as it appeared Olofsson lifted his stick before the puck got there.

Olofsson got set up in the right wing circle on the power play and Jack Eichel found him. Olofsson fired, but the shot went wide.

It wasn’t just offense for the rookie as Olofsson saved a goal by picking up Christoffer Ehn out front with Linus Ullmark trapped behind the net.

It really was a pretty good first period for the kid as he had four shots on goal in 4:44 of work.

The Sabres worked hard in the second period and carried most of the play, but this period wasn’t as good for Olofsson. On the power play, he had a terrible pass, which turned into the bad entry, and then he gave the puck away, only to see the Red Wings send it down ice.

Later, I did like how Olofsson positioned himself around the net, giving Eichel a lane to pass to him.

The Sabres were down 2-0, but got second period goals from Kyle Okposo and Marco Scandella to tie it.

Buffalo got down again in the third period and Olofsson had a great chance to tie the game coming in open down the left slot, but he hit the crossbar. It was a 3-on-1 and the kid had Jimmy Howard beaten.

He did pick up his first NHL point a few minutes later, leading a 2-on-1 down the wall. Olofsson did a nice spin move and found Eichel streaking down the middle to make it 4-4. Eichel said he enjoyed playing with him, "I was really happy with it. He brought a spark to our team. The combination of his skill and his compete and an elite shot, it was really good getting to play with him.”

You had to feel bad for the kid in overtime as he had a mini chance, but made a bad shot selection and missed the net. Detroit came back 3-on-2 and beat Linus Ullmark, who was all over the place in his own end.

Olofsson was selected the third star of the game for his effort. He played 16:25 on the night and had five shots on net, and four others that didn’t make it to Howard. Olofsson was on the ice for one goal for and two goals against.

Olofsson was upset with himself for that overtime mistake, but I was glad to see that Housley put him out in overtime.

Olofsson has done a nice job of improving his game this season in Rochester. It was very obvious in the preseason that he wasn’t near NHL ready and Chris Taylor and his staff have helped him learn the North American and the pro game. Olofsson, along with Will Borgen are a perfect examples of what proper development looks like. In my opinion, Tage Thompson’s development is the complete opposite.

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