Buffalo N.Y., — In another packed house at the HarborCenter, the Sabres drop the their second game of the tournament against the Bruins. Some quick game stats:
Final: BOS 3 BUF 1
Shots: BOS 32 BUF 39
Power Play: BOS 0/7 BUF 0/5
BOS Goal (12:34): Trent Frederic (Uhro Vaakanainen, Connor Clifton)
BUF Goal (17:37): Vaily Glotov (Eric Cornel, Matej Pekar)
BOS Goal (19:09) Karson Kuhlman (Ryan Fitzgerald)
Second Period: No Scoring
BOS Goal (19:33) Karson Kuhlman (empty net) (Ryan Fitzgerald , Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson
The Sabres come up empty handed in their second game of three in the Prospect Challenge after beating New Jersey last night. Much like the Sabres dominated early in the first against the Devils, it was the Bruins who would come out strong tonight. Boston skated well throughout the game and the Sabres saw a lot more pressure than they did last night.
While it was clear early the ice wasn’t as crisp as it was yesterday, the Sabres had plenty of chances in the first period with 14 shots, but the bounces weren’t as fortuitous as they were 24 hours before. With what looked to be a superior lineup than the Bruins, Buffalo was brought into the trenches to play a hard nosed, along the boards type game more than last nights free flowing show of skill. Give credit to the Bruins for their efforts as they played a complete game, 200 foot team game and goalie Dan Vladar had a stick tap worthy performance.
Some things that stood out starts with Rasmus Dahlin’s composure in a multitude of areas in the game. This is not much of a surprise anymore, but it’s still fresh enough to Sabres fans’ eyes that your simply drawn to watching his every move.
Alex Nylander played well again, showing a bit of everything from quickness to pick pocketting abilities to a defensive game which is something that was lacking in the past. There were a few plays in which Nylander was looking more responsible and even better, strong on the puck with urgency to fight for loose 50/50 plays. Consistency with these types of plays is what Sabres coaches, management and fans are hoping to see.
Rasums Asplund continues to impressive with his two way play and a dash of playmaking, showing some qualities both on and off the puck to be in the right position to make a smart play. There was a time in which he lost one too many faceoffs, but with time will come repetition to work his craft at the dot.
Casey Mittelstadt had another game in which he was swarming the puck and creating offense, but couldn’t find the back of the net. His frustrations and fiery spirit was on display, slamming his stick on the dasher in front of the bench and flinging the puck down the ice after missing a golden opportunity as you can see below:
Really, this is nothing to worry about if Mittelstadt isn’t putting up numbers as expected. He’s going to have his ups and downs this year, so seeing his aggressiveness to keep working for good things to happen, that’s really what matters in a tournament like this, even if it comes with anger and frustration.
Will Borgen showed he’s ready for Rochester with another solid outing. Never wowing you with skill, his tough, in your face defensive style does have a hint of an offensive upside. Paring him with a offensive defenseman like Taylor Fedun or Lawrence Pilut could bring out the best of both sides of his game and he could be seen as a dark house call up this year.
Ukko Pekka-Lukkenon played well, showing off some lateral quickness, athleticism and vision. As advertised, he’s solid down low and has quick feet, kicking pucks away with fast reactions. His development will be interesting to see as it will be better documented with his arrival in the OHL with the Sudbury Wolves.
Victor Olofsson made some plays that showed he’s played in a pro league before, but the Bruins were on him a lot faster tonight, which is a transition from the bigger ice surface overseas, which applies to many on the team this weekend.
Lastly, Tage Thompson looked like a man among boys using his big frame and wicked release to create chances. He could prove to be a solid option for a 3rd line scoring role with the big club if he continues to play at this level. It seems like a common theme that he’s surprisingly quick, even though there was chatter of his speed being an issue. He’s a big kid with a shooting mentality that will fit in nicely with what the Sabres organization is trying to accomplish.
The Sabres will wrap up their tournament vs Pittsburgh at 12:30 p.m. on Monday. Stay tuned to @TheChargingBUF for updates and analysis.