Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – The Buffalo Sabres will have both Rasmus Dahlin and Ilya Lyubushkin in the lineup when the face they Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday. Dahlin returns after missing one game with an upper-body injury.
Many felt Dahlin got hurt from a punch to the head by Carolina Hurricanes forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi on Friday, but Dahlin said it came later in the game.
“It wasn’t about the punch I got to my face, it was an accident after," said Dahlin following Tuesday's morning skate. "I was kind of getting a hit a little late, so my neck was a little bit off. It was a mix of everything. It wasn’t that situation.”
Dahlin finished the game, and even scored with less than one second remaining in the game. He said he didn’t know the extent of his injury until postgame.
“After the game, I was kind of feeling a little bit off, and I was unsure," Dahlin said. "When it comes to the head, you’ve got to be careful, but I’m all good now and I’m ready to go.”
Dahlin has played with a definite edge this season, and it’s served him well. He did admit he took it too far in Carolina by shooting a puck to the Hurricanes net after the whistle.
“I made a stupid play," Dahlin said. "I shot after the whistle, and you’re not supposed to do that. So I blame it on myself.”
Dahlin did agree that his new-found agitator mode adds to his game.
"It is a good thing. I’ve just got to stay away from all the stupid stuff," he said. "I’ve taken a sec and thought about what I’m going to do in the future, and I’m still going to play hard, but not stupid.”
JJ Peterka is now on one of the power play units with Dylan Cozens, Casey Mittelstadt, Owen Power and Victor Olofsson. Buffalo has scored a power play goal in six-consecutive games, and nine out of their last 10 contests. Sabres head coach Don Granato says he didn’t want to put Peterka on the power play too soon.
“It’s putting players in places to be successful, to feel good about their game," said Granato following the morning skate.
“You could question our power play and get frustrated with it, and I didn’t want to put him in that. I didn’t want to put JJ in that situation where the power play probably is going to be a little clunky, and guys are going to get frustrated and bang sticks and all the usual things. I didn’t want him to be a part of that.”
Buffalo has lost two-straight games, but are 4-2-0 at home, losing to the Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens.
The Sabres lead the NHL in scoring, netting 4.08 goals per-game. The two losses has dropped them from second in the Atlantic Division to fifth with a points percentage of .583.
Eric Comrie is slated to start in goal on Tuesday. He has given up three-or-more goals in all but one of his starts this season. Overall, he’s 4-4-0 with a 3.39 goals-against average and an .894 save percentage.
Arizona started its astonishing 14-game road trip with a 3-2 win over the Capitals on Saturday in Washington. Before they left home, the Coyotes had also beaten the Panthers, 3-1.
Clayton Keller leads Arizona in scoring with three goals and eight assists for 11 points in 11 games. Surprisingly, Nick Ritchie is their leading goal scorer with six tallies.
Join Schopp and the Bulldog for pregame coverage on WGR starting at 6 p.m. EST when you’ll hear from Granato, Dahlin and Kale Clague.