BUFFALO, N.Y. — After winning his first NHL game in more than five years on Thursday night over the Washington Capitals, Dustin Tokarski pointed to the rafters.
The 5-2 victory was also the 31-year-old netminder's first NHL win since losing his father in 2017.
"It was pretty incredible, to be honest," Tokarski said after the win, which would eventually help him earn the NHL's First Star of the Week honor.
"I lost my dad a few years back, so that was my first NHL win since he's passed. So I was just pointing up to him for that special moment, and then all the guys were just coming in. There's nothing better for a goalie celebrating with your teammates after a win."
Tokarski made a league-best 128 saves on 137 shots this week, picking up that win over Washington and splitting a two-game weekend series with Pittsburgh, after starting goalie Linus Ullmark went down with an lower body injury against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday.
The Sabres bounced back from a 3-2 loss on Saturday to the Penguins with a 4-2 win on Sunday, with Tokarski starting back-to-back games in net.
"Sometimes you just got to go out there and compete... We have other capable (goaltenders), of course, as well, but I love going out there battling," Tokarski said after Sunday's win. "If there is some fatigue, you know of have to put it behind you because everyone's tired. The players are playing a ton of games, too. So there are no excuses, and you just got to go out there and play.
"If someone's giving me an NHL start, I'm taking it every time."