Rasmus Dahlin performed dynamically in Tuesday’s loss. ©2024, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres dominate Stars, still lose: ‘Their goalie won that one for them’

BUFFALO – About 14 minutes into Tuesday’s 2-1 loss, Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin grabbed center Casey Mittelstadt’s adroit pass just inside the left circle and quickly unleashed a shot on Dallas Stars goalie Jake Oettinger.

The shaft of Oettinger’s stick nullified a splendid scoring chance, and when the puck fell from the netting above the glass, Dahlin caught it and spiked it in frustration.

“I thought he was like trying to throw it at me at first,” Oettinger joked.

Late in the second period, Mittelstadt fed Dahlin, this time in the slot, and when Oettinger stymied him again, the Swede raised his stick with both hands to his head as the play went on. For a second, it appeared he might try to snap it.

“It’s not fun to not score when you have a chance, so that’s all I can say,” a visibly frustrated Dahlin said.

Dahlin performed dynamically Tuesday, zooming around the ice and pumping eight of the Sabres’ 48 shots on Oettinger. He attempted 15 shots. It might’ve been his best outing this season. Most of his teammates – center Dylan Cozens registered eight shots and attempted 13 – looked pretty darn good, too. The Sabres attempted 83 shots.

The Sabres thoroughly outplayed the Stars most of the night, especially early, outshooting them 16-8 in the first period.

And yet the Sabres, who trailed 1-0 after the opening period, mustered just one goal, a power-play score from center Tage Thompson.

“There’s no way we think negative of this game,” Dahlin said. “It’s (stinks) right now. I’m more than (ticked) off. But tomorrow it’s a new day, and we played great.”

An agitated Don Granato couldn’t take solace in what the Sabres did well.

“We’re playing better hockey and more the way we need to play, period,” the coach said following his team’s first game since Jan. 27. “When I look at that, we played hard, we played the right way. The result wasn’t right. No one’s happy about that. No one wants to hear about that. I don’t want to hear about that.

“We didn’t get the win. But we’re playing the game with the pace we need to play it. This is very frustrating.”

Fifty games into the season, the Sabres’ playoff hopes are almost certainly finished unless they rattle off about five or six straight wins in the very near future. They’re 10 points out of the final wild card spot.

Remember, they haven’t won more than two consecutive contests all season. They failed Tuesday in their fourth attempt at a three-game winning streak.

“It’s just one of those games where you face a hot goalie, you get a lot of chances that aren’t going in for you,” Thompson said. “I thought defensively we were strong. We played a pretty tight game, didn’t really give up too much. I think their goalie won that one for them, obviously. That’s the way we got to play though.”

Mittelstadt said: “We get that many chances and that many shots a night, I think we’re going to win a lot of games here down the stretch.”

The Sabres won’t win many games if they keep falling behind. While they dominated the Stars for much of the opening period before the crowd of 13,221 fans in KeyBank Center, their opponent scored first for the 30th time this season.

Matt Duchene tallied at 3:45, capitalizing after Thompson was penalized for hooking.

Thompson’s power-play goal 5:53 into the second period ended a seven-game goal drought and showcased some of what can make him so lethal.

Like so many times last season when he scored 20 power-play goals, he one-timed a pass – this time from Dahlin – in the left circle. It was just his fourth power-play score this year and just Sabres’ second in five games.

“Recovery on pucks,” Thompson said of what created his goal. “Quick puck movement, I think. It all started with just shots, shot volume. Start with a shot, rebound, recovery.”

The Stars went up again at 9:04 after goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen dropped the puck and it hit Sam Steel’s skate when Radek Faska tried to put in it.

The Sabres pushed late, but they had to kill four third-period penalties, including two five-on-threes.

“Ridiculously tough situations,” Granato said. “You guys have the video and the replays and some of the calls were just interesting to say the least. It’s a tough situation. You kill four penalties and twice you’re down five-on-three. That doesn’t happen often in the NHL. Strange.”

2 thoughts on “Sabres dominate Stars, still lose: ‘Their goalie won that one for them’”

  1. The Sabres didn’t dominate Dallas. Both teams played well, and both goalies were exceptional. UPL is clearly the #1
    goalie. Levi should remain in Rochester until season’s end.
    Benson should join him. This season is over. Sell, sell, sell. Trade Power. He’s not worthy of that contract by any means. And quit drafting Smurfs !!

  2. 48 shots…….8 high danger chances. EIGHT! A perimeter offense that can’t/ won’t go to the front of the net and create havoc regularly can put 100 shots on net and a good goalie is going to turn them aside with ease. They talk a big game about what they need to do to fix this, step two would actually be stepping up and doing it. Still waiting.

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