CHICAGO (AP) The Buffalo Sabres are going to need several players to step up while Tage Thompson is sidelined by a left wrist injury.
It looks as if Rasmus Dahlin is up to the challenge.
The veteran defenseman had a goal and two assists Sunday night, and the Sabres stopped a three-game slide with a 3-2 victory over Connor Bedard and the Chicago Blackhawks.
“We found a way to win. It wasn’t pretty, but we found a way to win," Dahlin said. “That’s what I take away from this game.”
Erik Johnson snapped a third-period tie and Jeff Skinner also scored for Buffalo, which had dropped four of five overall. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 24 saves.
Johnson drove around Chicago defenseman Seth Jones midway through the third before flipping a tough-angle shot over Petr Mrazek’s right shoulder for a 3-2 lead. It was the second goal of the season for the defenseman.
“I saw some ice, took it and just tried to drive wide and elevate the puck and get it to the net as quick as I could,” Johnson said.
Thompson, who scored a team-high 47 goals last season, got hurt when he blocked a shot during the second period of a 5-2 loss to Boston on Tuesday night.
“It's kind of a next-man-up mentality,” Johnson said. “Fortunately, I think this team has a lot of guys up front that want more. They want more ice time. They want to be counted on.”
Chicago dropped its fourth consecutive game. Philipp Kurashev had a goal and an assist, and Taylor Raddysh also scored. Mrazek made 17 saves.
“I don't think we had the start that we wanted,” Blackhawks forward Nick Foligno said. “I just don't think we understand how we have to compete each and every shift. It's some of the time right now, and that's the result we're getting.”
Moments after Mrazek denied an open Zach Benson, Dahlin converted a wrist shot from the top of the right circle at 4:53 of the first period.
Dahlin also had a hand in the Sabres' second goal. With Chicago defenseman Kevin Korchinski in the penalty box for tripping, Dahlin found a wide-open Skinner on the side of the net for his eighth goal 10:55 into the second.
“I thought Dahlin was a major, major component both defensively and obviously offensively,” Buffalo coach Don Granato said.
Raddysh got the Blackhawks on the board 3:28 into the second. Seconds after Chicago's first power play expired, Raddysh redirected a Kurashev pass over Luukkonen's left shoulder for his third of the season.
Playing on a line with Bedard and Lukas Reichel, Kursashev tied it at 2 with 2:32 left in the second. Bedard got free for a shot that was kicked away by Luukkonen, but Kurashev knocked home the rebound for his fourth.
“We're going into the third period a lot these days tied and we don't come out on top,” coach Luke Richardson said. “So we got to find a way to be on top of these for a change and just get some life and build off of that.”
Sabres: At the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.
Blackhawks: At the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night.
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