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Sabres' Granato praises Dahlin after 5-point game: 'He was a force'

Joshua Bessex / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Following Rasmus Dahlin's five-point game against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night, Buffalo Sabres head coach Don Granato predicted the defenseman won't be an All-Star snub for much longer.

"He was a force. I don't know (the site for All-Star voting). Whatever it is, there should be some clicks tonight because that was a special night by him," Granato told reporters after Buffalo's 6-5 victory. "To watch that unfold was impressive."

The league's department of hockey operations selected Tage Thompson to represent the Sabres during next month's festivities, but there are still three remaining spots on each lineup. An online fan vote will determine those slots.

Dahlin has put together an All-Star-calibre season. He currently ranks third among defensemen in scoring with 44 points (12 goals, 32 assists) in 36 games.

The 22-year-old also tied a franchise record for most points by a blue-liner in a single game Saturday. Dahlin forced overtime with his second goal of the game and chipped in with three assists, including on Victor Olofsson's winner.

Dahlin logged a team-high 29:25 of action against the Wild. He was about to leave the ice prior to factoring in on Olofsson's overtime dagger, but he stayed on after Minnesota defenseman Jonas Brodin went off to the races on a partial break.

"I have to play defense, I have to take responsibility," he said of his action-packed shift. "(Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen) made a great save (on Brodin), so thanks to him."

Granato wasn't surprised to hear about Dahlin's relentless drive.

"That's where you see his compete. ... I'm sure there was a shot of adrenaline through him at that moment, of feeling, 'Hey, I might feel exhausted, but that's an excuse. I gotta get a job done here.'

"And he's identifying better with how to get a job done positionally, technically, learning his position, learning the league. We've seen that as Sabres fans and us in our positions, we've seen the growth in him in just game knowledge and how to shut (teams) down, and it was all on display there."

Dahlin's next chance to build on his spectacular campaign will come Monday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

All-Star Game voting will be open until Jan. 17.

Sabres' Granato praises Dahlin after 5-point game: 'He was a force'
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