STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - Tensions mounted and emotions flowed during the first game of the 2019 NHL Global Series in Stockholm between the Buffalo Sabres and the Tampa Bay Lightning last night.
Tampa Bay came away with the 3-2 victory and as the game wore on, scrums and physical play became more and more frequent. Will we see more of it tonight when the two teams take the ice again at Ericsson Globe? Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, who registered nine hits Friday, certainly hopes so.
"I like it. Let's go. Let's get at it right away and be emotional and play physical," he said.
The Sabres will look for a more productive start to Saturday's game. While they had a number of offensive opportunities, they found themselves down 2-0 after the first period.
"We have been, here and there coming out of the starting gate really quite strong, like yesterday," head coach Ralph Krueger said. "But the breakdowns we've been having are major and we just feel that that's certainly something in the last few games that's gotten off-track. What we do, is definitely work on a better activation early on and possibly more patience.
"I think sometimes it's been a lack of patience that has created opportunity for the opposition against. We need to be a little more patient as we enter the games and be more comfortable with 0-0 scores like we were earlier in the season."
Carter Hutton will start in net. Vladimir Sobotka was ruled out of the game last night after taking a hit from Nikita Kucherov in the first period, forcing him to leave the game. Forward Evan Rodrigues served as a healthy scratch Friday night.
For 19-year-old defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, having one game in his home country under his belt should serve as a bit of a relief. In addition to the game itself, the crowd and the anthems also played into the emotions of the Swedish-born natives who were in the lineup.
"Yesterday, I was really nervous. There was a lot going on and Tampa came out hard. They were really good," Dahlin said. "So today, I think all the nerves are gone and we can really play our game. Especially for me, I can hopefully just play hockey."