Three Observations: Three 'firsts' for new Sabres; Dahlin benched at end of second

Buffalo gets contributions from its newest members in a shootout loss to the Capitals
By WGR 550 SportsRadio

While they couldn't convert their goals into a winning effort, the newcomers of the Buffalo Sabres made their presence known Friday night in their loss to the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena in D.C.

Let's take a look at three observations from the game:

1.) Dylan Cozens continues to impress, scoring his first in the NHL

In just his fifth career NHL appearance, Sabres rookie forward Dylan Cozens finally found the back of the net for the first professional goal of his career.

Cozens made a terrific play in the neutral zone to take the puck away from Capitals defenseman Brian Pinho, and then carried the puck into the offensive zone and fired a shot from the top of the right circle over the shoulder of goaltender Vitek Vanacek.

Cozens is subject to the NHL's entry-level slide rule, so the Sabres have six games to decide whether or not they should keep Cozens for the season or send him either to the American Hockey League or back to juniors, depending on if the WHL season can get underway. If he plays in his seventh game of the 2020-21 season, the first year of his contract will officially kick in.

It seems obvious, at this point, that Cozens has nothing left to accomplish at the WHL level. Through five games, Cozens has looked the part of an NHL player to the point where he should be getting games beyond his fast-approaching seventh NHL game.

2.) Sabres' newcomers contribute in the loss

Every Sabres goal scorer on Friday night is playing in their first season with the team, with Eric Staal opening the scoring for Buffalo to put them in a 1-0 lead.

Cozens tied the score with his first NHL goal in the second period to make it 2-2.

Then, forward Riley Sheahan, who signed a professional tryout with the Sabres before signing for the 2020-21 season, also brought things level with the Capitals in the second period to make it 3-3.

Buffalo had major issues with secondary scoring depth outside of their top line last season, so it's great to see some depth contributors early and often with Buffalo.

3.) Rasmus Dahlin benched in second period, plays just one shift in the third

Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin continues to have a rough go of it early on in the 2020-21 season.

Dahlin was on the ice for two goals-against, the second of which he lost his balance in front of the net and allowed Jakub Vrana to tap the puck by goaltender Linus Ullmark.

Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger didn't play Dahlin for another shift for the remaining 6:53 of the second period. Dahlin got another shift in on an early power play in the third period, but he never saw the ice for the final 15 minutes of regulation, nor the entirety of overtime.

Dahlin will be someone to watch over the coming games to see if he can pick things up from his slow start.


Buffalo gets another crack at the Capitals on Sunday afternoon at Capital One Arena. The Paul William Beltz Pregame Show will get started at 2 p.m. EST with Brian Koziol with faceoff in Washington set for 3 p.m. EST.

Coverage shifts over to our sister station, ESPN 1520, as WGR Sports Radio 550 will be covering the AFC Championship Game between the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs.