Despite missing the first few days of training camp, Sam Reinhart stepped on the ice and picked up tighter where he left off at the end of last season.
Fresh off signing a two-year contract on Wednesday, Reinhart picked up two assists in the Sabres 3-2 loss to the Leafs.
“I think the first period helped, getting a couple of power plays and I was able to feel the ice a little bit and get that part of that down and get some reps out there,” Reinhart said after the game. “I think it was a little more challenge in the second and third but overall I thought the legs handled it well. Obviously, looking to feel better after each day.”
“I thought he was one of our best forwards,” added head coach Phil Housley said. “He looked very comfortable, he fit right in, he was on the puck and making plays. He was trying to make a difference tonight.”
In the first period on the power play, Reinhart set up shop in front of Frederik Andersen to create a perfect screen for Kyle Okposo, who ripped home his first goal of the preseason.
In the second Reinhart found himself all alone out front and tried to go 5-hole on the Toronto netminder, but was turned away.
Trailing 2-1 in the frame, Jack Eichel fed Reinhart, who skated through the slot and pushed the puck toward the net. His initial shot was stopped by Andersen, but newly acquired Jeff Skinner was there to bury the rebound and tie the game.
The Leafs would take the lead in the third period with a power play goal.
On the blueline Zach Bogosian looked like the defenseman the Blue & Gold have been hoping for — providing a steady, physical presence. He played his first full goal since January. The defenseman only suited up in 18 games last season.
On the flip side Rasmus Dahlin struggled with several rookie mistakes the Sabres will work to correct ahead of the regular season.
The No. 1 overall pick had a pass intercepted in the defensive zone leading to a Toronto scoring opportunity.
He then tried the toe-drag dangle on the blueline against Patrick Marleau and failed. The crafty veteran easily picked off the puck and had a short-handed breakaway opportunity, that was turned away by Carter Hutton.
Seconds into the third period, Dahlin was stripped at the blueline leading to another chance for the Leafs.
“He’s a young man and he’s going to make mistakes. One of the hardest things for him is knowing who he’s playing against and their characteristics. That’s going to take some time to get to know the players he’s playing against.
“He’s pretty cool and calm and we’re going to have some growing pains at times, but I like that he still makes the plays. He’ll make a mistake — he’s very confident in his abilities and we are too. As he moves forward I think he’ll learn from these things. He’s a very smart hockey player.”
Buffalo returns to action on Tuesday when they travel to Clinton, NY, to battle the the Blue Jackets at the Kraft Hockeyville Arena.