The Sabres fall short to Pittsburgh

September 09, 2019 - 7:36 pm

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - The Sabres lost to Pittsburgh on Monday 6-4 giving the Penguins the Prospects Challenge.

After a scoreless first period, the Sabres were lifeless from top to bottom and Pittsburgh sprinted out to a 4-0 lead. Buffalo finally broke through at 18:05 when Brett Murray scored on the power play and less than two seconds before the period ended, Dylan Cozens tipped in a Henri Jokiharju shot to give Buffalo hope heading into the locker-room.

That hope turned into reality when Rasmus Asplund scored twice in 2:06 to tie the game. His second goal came shorthanded making him the leading scorer in the tournament with three goals and three assists for six points.

Just 15 seconds after Asplund tied it, Pittsburgh went back out in front with a power play goal and that was it until an empty netter clinched the game and the Challenge.

Cozens had a goal and an assist in this game and had two goals and three points in two games played.

Victor Olofsson finished with two goals and three assists for five points in three games while Jokiharju had three assists in two games.

Some of the players will stay for training camp which opens on Thursday with testing. Jason Botterill liked how Asplund, Olofsson and Will Borgen led the way, “I was happy with how some of our veteran players who have done this before like Asplund and Olofsson came in, but I was also excited about some of our young defensemen, guys like Bryson and Fitzgerald who handled themselves very well too.”

Had they not been injured, Lawrence Pilut and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen would’ve been in this tournament. Botterill updated both, “Lawrence Pilut's still recovering from shoulder surgery. He won’t be in main camp, but everything seems to be going very smoothly and he’ll be looking to be playing games somewhere in the middle of October.”

Luukkonen's coming off hip surgery and things have been very positive from his rehab, he won’t be in main camp and we’re looking at a timeframe of the start of November.”

Rasmus Ristolainen will be in Buffalo by Tuesday. He likely won’t skate because it’s the Sabres Golf Tournament. Botterill didn’t have anything new about his defenseman, “In our conversations with him it’s been positive and Risto has always been someone that comes to camp in extremely good shape and I think there’s going to be an adjustment for all our players with our new head coach.”

As of Monday Botterill said there will be no veteran NHL players attending training camp on PTOs.

Jason Pominville will not be going to camp in Montreal on a PTO. Botterill said, "Jason’s still in town and we continue to communicate with him and we’ll continue to communicate with him in the next couple of days and make a decision on that.

“I haven’t ruled it out, but we’re very excited about where we are from a depth standpoint and the competitions we’re going to have and we want to make sure we give our young players enough of an opportunity.”

The team has its golf tournament on Tuesday, they may skate on their own on Wednesday and then they report for testing at 8:30 on Thursday with on-ice work starting on Friday.

The first preseason game is Monday at Penn State against Pittsburgh.


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