Sabres' Nylander nets his first NHL goal

April 6, 2018

Tampa, FL (WGR 550) - Alex Nylander played in his sixth NHL game in Tampa and was having a very uneventful period when Lightning struck for him, not Tampa Bay. Brendan Guhle did a great job of using his quickness to keep a puck in the zone and Nylander read the play perfectly.

Chris Taylor has been on him to play more around the net and that’s what the kid did, he headed to the net and expertly tipped in Guhle’s shot for his first NHL goal.

Before that, Casey Mittelstadt ripped a wrist shot far side on Andrei Vasilevskiy for his first NHL goal. With both guys getting their first, it marked the first time that has happened for the Sabres since 1995 when Wayne Primeau and Curtis Brown did it.

I really didn’t have any other notes on Nylander in the first period. He was minus one on the period, but the two goals he was on for weren’t even close to his fault. They were both horrendous turnovers by Sam Reinhart that wound up in the net.

Nylander played 5:15 in the first with just the one shot.

In the second, he still looked tentative and nervous. Right off the bat he couldn’t even complete a five-foot pass to Reinhart.

I watched one battle he had in front of the net and was impressed. He had maybe the league’s best defenseman, Victor Hedman all over him and he hung in there and stood his ground.

Nylander had a chance for an assist when he set up Reinhart in the slot, but the shot went wide.

After two periods Nylander had played 7:58 with just the one shot. Penalties kept his ice-time down.

I saw Nylander's speed for the first time in the third period when he broke up the left wing. He got in the zone, but was just ridden out of the play and lost the puck.

Right after Anthony Cirelli tied the game, Nylander led a 3-on-2 the other way, but he was caught from behind by Cirelli. There was no speed on that play.

Nylander only played 10:29, but a lot of that was because of the penalties. I wasn't impressed with him, but to be fair, he couldn't get into any flow because of long stints on the bench.

The rookie was minus-three, but again. I can't blame any of the goals against on him.

He still has to be more involved as his only shot was his goal and he had not hits, no blocked shots and no shot attempts. If you're playing with Sam Reinhart and Ryan O'Reilly, that needs to be better.