Nonetheless jubilant as he got here off the ice Thursday, Dylan Cousins held the stick he used to attain the game-winning aim and volleyed it previous New York’s Ilya Sorokin to cap off the celebration of Ryan Miller’s legacy in Buffalo with a Sabers victory. .
Because the Cozens made his technique to the dressing room to proceed the celebration, he bumped into Miller’s 7-year-old son, Buddy, who was ready within the hallway for his father. As a substitute of including hockey memorabilia to his assortment, the Cozens handed each of them over to the boy to provide Buddy, Ryan, and the remainder of the Miller household one other reminiscence of an evening they’re going to always remember.
“It wasn’t one thing I informed him to do,” Ryan recalled in the course of the MSG broadcast on Saturday afternoon. “I am so pulled away from doing one thing else. Nobody round, simply these two alone. Give him the baton. New favourite participant, by far.”
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Ryan Miller shares a narrative about his son and Dylan Cozens after Thursday night time’s win over the Islanders. It offers you an thought of what sort of particular person Dylan is. #LetsGoBuffalo pic.twitter.com/1ghBdz31tw
– Buffalo Hockey Moments (SabresPlays) January 21, 2023
Cozens gave Bodhi Memorial once more Saturday afternoon in entrance of one other sellout crowd on the KeyBank Middle. Together with his again once more, Cousins manipulated Anaheim Geese winger Jacob Silverberg and scored the Sabers’ first aim in a 6-3 victory with a fast, excessive shot on goaltender John Gibson.
The aim helped the Sabers get one other quick begin on the day when Miller dropped the puck with Boddy at his aspect in a celebratory showdown between Gibson and American-born teammate Craig Anderson.
Buffalo’s two-goal lead evaporated within the second interval on Saturday, however took the lead once more by scoring 3 times within the third set, together with on a double at 5:55 by Viktor Olofsson, to tug away from the win. Peyton Cripps additionally scored twice and Jeff Skinner scored on the facility play within the first interval. They improved to 23-19-2 and caught up within the Jap Playoff race.
“These had been some huge wins for us,” Cozens mentioned.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 34 saves for his twelfth win in 18 video games since becoming a member of the membership in November, whereas the Geese (13-29-5) continued their free fall to the underside of the Pacific Division. Trevor Zegras scored twice for Anaheim within the second interval to assist safe a 3-3 tie within the second interval.
This was one other signing Cozens confirmed off in his breakout season. The Sabers’ dynamic two-way heart has 16 targets and 42 factors—the latter greater than all however one participant 21 or youthful within the NHL—with 10 multi-point performances in 45 video games. Cozens is growing into the participant former common supervisor Jason Botterill envisioned when the Sabers chosen him with the seventh decide within the 2019 draft.
Regularly, Cozens developed right into a strong driving tour. His newest first-period feat confirmed persistence and a killer intuition. In seasons previous, Cozens could have hesitated to see if there was a passing go to get a pinch hit for a teammate. Not anymore.
After accumulating a Rasmus Dahlin go within the no-man’s land, Cozens crossed the blue line and lunged to control Silfverberg into falling to the ice to attempt to block a shot. Cousins then looped across the Geese’ wing, drove to the web and slammed the ball into the highest of the web for a 1-0 lead at 9:53 into the sport.
“I feel it is simply pure progress mixed with competitiveness and expertise,” mentioned Sabers coach Don Granato. “Once you take a look at his age, he is so younger. He was clearly youthful final yr, he even turned so younger final yr. And whenever you compete and work and you’ve got the expertise and the ability that he has, you retain getting higher. Through the season, gamers can step again and mirror on the yr and breathe in. And so there’s often exponential progress for the youthful gamers from the final sport of the season to the primary sport of the subsequent yr.”
Cousins has 34 factors in his final 32 video games and has already surpassed his offensive manufacturing from 2021-22, when he scored 13 targets and 38 factors in 79 video games.
Going into Saturday, Cozens is third on the workforce in single-scoring possibilities in 5-on-5 conditions, in line with NaturalStatTrick, and his streak with JJ Peterka and Jack Quinn poses a scoring risk each time he takes the ice.
Cozens is about to be the subsequent member of the Sabers’ younger corps to obtain a contract extension. He is a restricted free agent this summer time. Basic Supervisor Kevin Adams will need to signal the Cozens to a long-term contract, just like the seven-year deal Tage Thompson signed in August.
“I am very proud of the best way the primary half right here has been,” Cozens mentioned. “I simply need to preserve constructing and getting higher each day, each sport. Simply preserve working to succeed in my full potential.”
Followers had been unable to attend video games at KeyBank Middle when the Cozens first arrived in Buffalo in January 2021 as a result of Covid-19 pandemic. It wasn’t till final season that he and the others on the workforce obtained to know simply how passionate Western New York hockey followers are. And although he grew up on the opposite aspect of the continent within the Yukon Territory, he grew to become the newest in a protracted line of Sabers who’ve embraced the which means of sporting the logo and representing the neighborhood.
Ryan Miller’s night time was a precursor to the Swordsmen who got here earlier than the Cozens. It was an opportunity to fulfill Miller and different alumni who made the journey to look at the franchise’s all-time winningest goalie elevate his quantity 30 to the rafters and be inducted into the Sabers Corridor of Fame. Cozens’ gesture, when Miller wasn’t even there to witness Boddy receiving the stick and puck, confirmed that his command was not restricted to his enjoying on the ice.
“I assumed it was the stick I scored the game-winning aim with in extra time there, so I assumed it could be a particular reminiscence for him to keep in mind that sport and that particular night time his father was honored,” Cozens mentioned. “He was within the hallway afterward, and it appeared like the suitable factor to do.”
Listed below are different notes from the sport:
That is Olofsson’s greatest since arriving within the NHL in 2019. The 27-year-old winger’s third-period aim on Saturday, one run on an ideal cross by defender Ilya Lyubushkin, gave the Sabers a 4-goal lead. 3 lead with 17:48 left.
Olofsson added one other later within the sport when he intercepted the ball within the no-man’s land and scored on a breakaway to set a brand new profession excessive with 21 targets of the season.
There is a noticeable distinction within the Sabers’ play after they’re effectively rested, so Granato did not have the skate on Friday. They had been the quicker and higher workforce within the third interval in opposition to Anaheim. The Sabers completed with 39 photographs on aim and 61 shot makes an attempt.
“We weren’t new to matches, so okay, we’ll take this chance to relaxation yesterday understanding there will probably be stress in the present day to carry out,” Granato mentioned. “We have not lived as much as our private expectations in a few video games earlier than that within the final two weeks, so it has been nice for our gamers to get that going.”
• This was Lyubushkin’s greatest sport this season. He had three assists and three photographs on aim in 17:32 of ice time. It’s no coincidence that his play started to enhance after time was misplaced as a result of a decrease physique damage. Granato confirmed that Lyubushkin was enjoying by means of the ache. He blocks photographs and performs a heavy sport, so the Sabers have watched his workload in video games and drills. Consequently, his skating returned to the way it was at first of the season.
• One other glorious efficiency by Dahlin. He caught two passes in 22:42 of ice time. In 44 video games, the 22-year-old has scored 13 targets and 52 factors. He is enjoying like a Norris Trophy contender in his fifth season within the NHL.
• Stable response by means of the sword drive sport within the first interval. It was a tricky stretch for the primary unit. The group was pushing and committing uncharacteristic shifts. There was a 4 on the turnaround that ended with Skinner’s wrist shot making it 2-0.
• Alex Toch assisted Skinner’s aim and an incredible shot by Krebs for the Sabers’ third aim within the third interval. Contact has 22 targets and 50 factors in 45 video games.
Cribbs was an attention-grabbing participant to look at throughout his second season in Buffalo. The 21-year-old heart was scratched eight instances at varied factors as a developmental alternative to look at from a unique perspective.
Since uniting with Kyle Okposo and Zemgus Girgensons, Krebs has seemed like a unique participant. He performs a tricky, direct sport and makes extra of an affect on the fore verify. His first aim on Saturday got here on a upfield scramble and his second was a robust shot into the opening to place Buffalo up 6-3.
– Buffalo Hockey Moments (SabresPlays) January 21, 2023
“The good factor is that he did not come into the squad and attempt to show one thing to us as coaches or to Kevin (Adams) as common supervisor,” Granato mentioned. “He is aware of we imagine in him. And he took an opportunity when he sat out a few video games so as to add one thing to his sport and discover methods so as to add issues to the sport. I do not assume any of us have ever seen him decide up a deal with the best way he scored that second aim, and do not kick that in case you do not assume Which you can rating from there… Once more, that is simply one other piece he is including to his sport.
“And if we will make a man like that assume he can rating, his go is much more harmful as a result of you must respect that shot.”
Krebs additionally selected the suitable time to just accept an invite to struggle. He dropped his gloves and traded punches with Geese ahead, Ryan Strom, inflicting a whistle that abruptly ended a 2-on-1 rush in favor of Anaheim.
The Sabers hit the highway for a four-game journey beginning Monday night time in Dallas with an 8:30 puck down in opposition to the Stars.