2 – Sabres stars made plays without the puck
While the Buffalo Sabres were busy shutting down the Islanders in the second period outshooting them 10-1 across the first half of the frame, Rasmus Dahlin was having the game of his life – without the puck. How good was Dahlin when the puck wasn’t in his possession? Check out what Lance Lysowski of Buffalo News wrote:
"“The Sabres outscored the Islanders 2-0 and controlled 70.59 percent of the 5-on-5 shot attempts when Dahlin was on the ice. His five assists through five games are tied for second among all NHL defensemen and he had a team-high 23:02 of ice time Saturday.”"
If the Black and Red keep following Dahlin’s lead (and plenty of them made plays without the puck last night), then they will be the team we thought they would be all along. Their quality of play without the puck is what haunted the team last season, and it carried over into 2023-24 over the first four outings, but last night was a different story.
Now, the Sabres must show us they can be consistent and do the same thing for this week’s upcoming slate of games. It’s one thing to show flashes in one contest, but we can’t say they’re consistent without the puck just yet.