Rasmus Dahlin has scored 19 goals this season. ©2024, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin scores critical goal, joins elite company

BUFFALO – Following a night in which he logged more than 23 minutes of ice time and scored the go-ahead goal after briefly leaving the game, Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin earned a well-deserved breather.

Coach Don Granato said Dahlin, 23, sat out Saturday’s practice in LECOM Harborcenter to rest and recharge. He expects the Swede will play in this afternoon’s critical road game against the Detroit Red Wings.

As Dahlin illustrated in Friday’s 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, he relishes an opportunity to participate in meaningful late-season contests. While their chances are slim – just 1.1 percent as of Saturday afternoon, according to sportsclubstats.com – 77 games into the season, the Sabres are still in the playoff chase.

“We’re a team that never gives up,” Dahlin said following Friday’s game in KeyBank Center. “We don’t listen to the outside noise. We’re a strong core in here and we will look at the result once the last game has been played.”

Dahlin understands how much that final result can sting. The Sabres missed the playoffs by one win last year, the only other time during his six-year career they stayed in the hunt this late.

He knows every moment matters. In Friday’s second period, he left the game after taking a hit – “I got kind of banged up there so I just double-checked it, and everything was good,” Dahlin said – before scoring at 14:51 to put the Sabres up 2-1.

“He left for a moment, comes back and steps up,” Granato said. “So he’s an inspiring guy, I don’t know what else to say on that. It’s obvious, right? … It’s an inspiring moment from a player that consistently does what happened last night.”

Dahlin’s 19th goal this season puts him in elite company. He joined Phil Housley, his first NHL coach, as the only defensemen in franchise history to score 19 or more goals in a campaign.

Housley, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, did it six times. He scored 21 or more goals five times, including 1989-90, his final season in Buffalo.

Sabres winger Jordan Greenway, who has missed the last two games with an upper-body injury, practiced Saturday in a non-contact jersey.

Granato said Greenway “has a chance” to face the Red Wings. He needed see how the Canton native felt following the session.

Greenway practiced at right wing alongside center Peyton Krebs and Jeff Skinner.

Justin Bailey’s dedication to hockey has been recognized by the San Jose Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

The Williamsville native has been named the Sharks’ nominee for the 2024 Masterton Trophy.

Bailey, 28, has set NHL career highs across the board – five goals, 14 points and 54 games – after beginning the season on an AHL contract.

The winger spent all of last season in the minors and hadn’t scored an NHL goal since 2017-18, his final season in Buffalo’s organization.

Bailey, who’s biracial, speaks out about the racism he experienced growing up and gives guidance to children who have similar experiences.

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