Victor Olofsson noticed he was being defended by Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras when he made the aggressive move that led to Rasmus AsplundThursday’s winning goal in overtime.
Olofsson attacked Zegras in the lunge, pushing his way through the sophomore cross before returning the puck through the crease to Asplund.
“I know that as a forward you are not always very comfortable in these situations,” Olofsson told reporters on Friday. “I just wanted to take it out on him and enjoy it. It worked, so I’m happy for it.”
It was a move that required confidence, something Olofsson does not miss at the start of the season. His two assists on Thursday brought his points total at the top of the team to eight (4 + 4).
Olofsson – a power-play threat since his rookie season in 2018-19 – has been consistent 5-5 alongside Asplund and Tagus Thompson. The Sabers hold 52.94 percent of shooting attempts with Olofsson tied on the ice, third on the team behind Asplund and Arttu Ruotsalainen.
Five of Olofsson’s eight points – including three goals – are tied.
“I feel like since coming to North America I’ve worked really hard to improve without the puck, to improve defensively,” said Olofsson. “I feel like I’ve made progress. I also want to be better with the puck and create more offensive chances, so I think I’m on the right track here.
“I just feel more confident. I feel like I’ve created more 5-on-5s, not only for myself but for my teammates as well. I feel great there.”
Video: BUF @ ANA: Asplund converts overseas rush to OT
Asplund referred to the work that got Olofsson off to a good start after the win over Anaheim.
“He works his ass everyday to get better and I think this year you can see it, the fire in his eyes again a little bit,” Asplund said. “Maybe it’s been a little while gone, I don’t know.
“But, I mean, you can see how (a lot) of fun he is and how he wants to make games, wants to be a player who makes a difference. I think he really got that game back and that. is great for him and it’s great for the team. “
Brett Murray is expected to debut in the season on Sunday. He skated on a line with Arttu Ruotsalainen and Drake caggiula, while John Hayden served as an additional skater in training.
“That’s what we’ll do tomorrow,” Sabers coach Don Granato said after practice. “Just a different look, a different energy. The guys seemed to be excited so we’ll see, but I thought it was about time.”
Video: Don Granato after Saturday practice in LA
Murray played his first two NHL games at the end of last season and has had a solid training camp for the Sabers this fall. He was recalled from the Americans in Rochester on October 23.
Buffalo also had a special visitor to practice, former goaltender Ryan Miller:
The Sabers continue their West Coast road trip against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday. Coverage on MSG begins at 3:30 p.m. The puck drops to 4.