Top pick Dahlin scores first goal, Sabres beat Coyotes 3-0
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Five games into his first NHL season, rookie Rasmus Dahlin has his first career goal.
The 18-year-old defenseman, the first overall pick in this year’s NHL draft, put in a rebound 2:45 into the game. It proved to be all the Buffalo Sabres needed in a 3-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night.
Dahlin was mobbed by his teammates on the ice.
“They were really glad and that makes me glad, too,” he said. “A good win for us. It’s a tough league, but we’ll just keep moving forward.”
Linus Ullmark stopped 36 shots for his first career shutout, Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist, and Conor Sheary also scored for the Sabres. Ullmark, making his season debut, appeared in his 27th career NHL game.
“It was sweet,” Ullmark said of his shutout. “I didn’t have to fight much to see the puck, so all credit to the guys for helping out.”
Arizona failed to score for the third time in their first four games - including the second time at home.
Antti Raanta had 20 saves for the Coyotes, who have two goals this season despite outshooting their opponents in every game.
“If we’re not getting out chances or not getting our shots I’d be worried. But you can’t keep moving lines every time because you’re not scoring,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. “A guy hits a guy in the logo, some guys, you’ve got to pick the corner. It’s four games and I know everybody’s frustrated we’re not scoring goals ... at the end of the day you’ve got to be able to will yourself a goal.”
The Coyotes went 0 for 3 on power plays and are 1 for 12 on the season. Defenseman and captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson took a nasty spill when he was tripped up late in the game on a hit by Patrik Berglund.
Ekman-Larsson was able to return to the ice moments later, just before Skinner scored on a backhand with 3:31 to play in the third.
Buffalo got started with Dahlin’s goal, but Skinner did much of the work to set it up. The center, acquired from Carolina in an offseason trade, skated around Coyotes defenseman Jason Demers and Raanta, leaving the puck for Dahlin for the finish.
“I was happy for him. First one,” Skinner said of Dahlin. “You watch him play and you know it’s going to come for him, it was going to come. He’s got so much skill. Nice for him to get it out of the way.”
A cross-checking penalty on Arizona’s Christian Fischer set up Buffalo’s first power play of the game, and Sheary beat Raanta on his blocker side after Sam Reinhart faked a shot and dished the puck out to Sheary. The goal, with 1:54 left in the first period, gave Buffalo a 2-0 lead and was the first power-play goal allowed by Arizona this season.
The Coyotes missed a pair of good chances late in the second, with Ullmark stopping shots from close range by Richard Panik and Fischer before the period ended.
NOTES: Former Coyotes D Zbynek Michalek, who played 612 career games with the team, dropped the ceremonial first puck before Saturday’s game. Michalek is second among defensemen all-time in games played for Arizona. ... F Josh Archibald (upper body injury) was scratched and has missed the first four games of the season. ... Sheary’s three goals tied him with C Jack Eichel for the team lead. ... Sabres C Vladimir Sobotka played for the first time since the season opener on Oct. 4. He then missed the next three games with an upper body injury.
Sabres: At Vegas on Tuesday night.
Coyotes: At Minnesota on Tuesday night.