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5 Observations: Reinhart lifts Sabres to 5-4 shootout win against Wild

Posted: 10:56 PM, Feb 05, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-05 22:56:13-05
Sam Reinhart has goal and assist in Sabres win

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Sam Reinhart scored the lone shootout goal, lifting the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-4 shootout win against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. Evan Rodrigues, C.J. Smith, Rasmus Dahlin, and Reinhart scored for the Sabres, who improve to 26-20-6 on the season.

Five observations from Tuesday's win:

MVP of the night

For my money, Sam Reinhart was the Sabres best player on Tuesday and was one of the biggest reasons why they escaped with two points. It was fitting he was who sealed the game in the shootout as the puck trickled over the goal line behind Devan Dubnyk. Yet there are still people who think Reinhart needs to be alongside Eichel in order to produce. With more line shuffling likely, Reinhart proved Tuesday he can be the go-to guy on a line without Eichel or Jeff Skinner.

Lights Out Linus

If you just looked at the box score you might not think Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark had an impressive of an outing. Sometimes numbers don't tell the whole story.

Despite allowing four goals, Ullmark bailed his team out of countless mistakes and turnovers and was great on Tuesday.

"Linus played outstanding," Sabres head coach Phil Housley said after the game. "It's tough to see that fourth goal go in because he played such a good game up to that point."

If it were up to me, he'd be in net again on Thursday when the Hurricanes come to town.

POWER play

It turns out all the Sabres power play needed was a bit of Swedish flare. With Rodrigues' goal in the first and Dahlin's tally in the second, the Sabres went two-for-two on the power play Tuesday night. Prior to their game against the Wild, the Sabres had only two power play goals on their previous 27 attempts.

To say their man advantage woes have been fixed would be ridiculous considering the sample size. However, the Sabres shouldn't take either Dahlin or Casey Mittelstadt off the top power play unit. For the first time in a long time, they looked dangerous with the man advantage, which for a team that struggles to score can be the ultimate equalizer.

Welcome Back

In the second period, C.J. Smith scored his second goal of the season in only his fifth game. Smith deserves credit for scoring, but let's be real, Reinhart made the goal happen. Reinhart sent a perfect pass to the streaking rookie. to briefly give the Sabres a 2-1 lead.

If Smith can contribute and chip-in offensively the Sabres and GM Jason Botterill will be thrilled. For months the team has been looking for a spark and perhaps Smith can provide the secondary scoring the Sabres have been yearning for.

Elite company

With his goal on Tuesday, Rasmus Dahlin has tied Aaron Ekblad for the fifth-most points by an 18-year-old defenseman in NHL history [29 points]. Not bad, considering the Sabres have 30 games left this season.

Although he didn't capitalize on the move, Dahlin's prettiest play came in the third period when he perfectly executed a toe-drag around a falling Jared Spurgeon. Dahlin fired his shot over the net or it would've been his prettiest goal of the season and probably ended up on SportsCenter.

What the 18-year-old is doing is truly remarkable. To think, he's only going to keep getting better.