Game 78: Rasmus Dahlin and the Dividends of Growth
The Sabres are learning how to handle hockey's various rigors and their No. 1 defenseman is showing them the way.
BUFFALO – The theme of learning and growing for the Buffalo Sabres has been ever-present throughout the season, following suit as if it was a class syllabus.
They’ve been figuring out what they can and can’t do and how to handle the various situations that occur during an NHL game and a full year. The amount of raw talent on the roster has, until Don Granato’s arrival, gotten by on their ability and elite skill, like innate street smarts. The book smarts were introduced this season with a course called “How to Become Perennial Playoff Contenders” and it’s a 500-level course.
On Saturday afternoon, the Sabres, with their playoff hopes hanging on by a thread and the possibility that they could end completely with a loss hanging in the air, showed they haven’t skipped any classes and the grueling work is paying off.
The Sabres won 4-3 in a game that was loaded with importance for both them and the Carolina Hurricanes. Buffalo wants to stay alive in the playoff race and they have. The Hurricanes are fending off a late challenge from the New Jersey Devils for the lead in the Metropolitan Division. Their loss opens the door for the Devils to hop them in the standings with a win Saturday night.
These are the important games in April everyone’s wanted in Buffalo for the past 12 years. Three months ago, the outcome might’ve been much different for the Sabres, but they’ve matured and learned how to lock down a game that had all the ups and downs many others have had this season and it was Rasmus Dahlin leading the way.
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