BUFFALO – After a particularly frustrating power play in Tuesday’s 4-3 overtime win, Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin showcased some rare emotion, slamming his stick on the ice before snapping it.
“When you can’t score, it’s pretty tough,” Dahlin said this afternoon inside KeyBank Center. “Bad sticks, I wanted a new one so I broke it.”
After Dahlin’s little outburst, Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen joked with the rookie on the bench.
While Dahlin couldn’t remember what Ristolainen told him, he said it “made me feel good.”
“That’s what teammates are for,” said the first overall pick, who pumped a career-high eight shots on goal Tuesday, including several during a tough power play.
Dahlin, 18, has acclimated to the NHL quickly, often turning heads during his first 31 games. He made some mistakes Tuesday, but Sabres coach Phil Housley still played him a whopping 28 minutes, 34 seconds against the Kings, a stunning number for a teenage defenseman.
“He’s just a tremendous competitor, right?” Housley said of Dahlin snapping his stick. “He wants to do the right things, he’s coachable, he wants to win. He expects a lot out of himself.
“At this point, I really like where his development is. He’s getting more and more comfortable with our game, the North American game, so to speak. He’s attacking the game the right way, he’s trying to create.”
In the first period against the Kings, he dazzled for about 22 seconds, carrying the puck from deep in his own zone through the center ice and behind the opposing net before circling back to the point and shooting.
“I just skated, had a lot of speed,” said Dahlin, who dodged some defenders. “Nothing really happened, so it wasn’t like a big deal.”
Well, people are making a big deal about the jaw-dropping shift, which is all over the internet today.
Naturally, Dahlin said his confidence keeps growing.
“We have a great team so you can play your own game,” Dahlin said. “Guys in the locker room are great, they’re easy.”
In other news, Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella, who has missed seven straight games with a lower-body injury, practiced today.
While he likely won’t return for Thursday’s home tilt against the Arizona Coyotes, the weekend is a possibility, Housley said.
“Really good day,” Housley said. “That’s two good days in a row. We’ll see how he reacts after the practice. It wasn’t a bump-and-grind type of practice, but I liked when he was out there, moving the puck, getting involved.”
Meanwhile, Housley said Ristolainen and winger Kyle Okposo had maintenance days today.
Sabres goalie Carter Hutton, who backed up Linus Ullmark on Tuesday after missing one game with an upper-body injury, said he’s “ready to go.”
“I’m not sure what their plan is,” Hutton said.