Jack Eichel scored his second goal of the game with just one second left in overtime to give the Buffalo Sabres a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes this afternoon at the First Niagara Center.
The victory snapped the Sabres two-game losing streak and put a damper on the Hurricanes’ playoff chances as they attempt to close in on the second wildcard spot in the East.
Both teams struggled to find their legs in the first period only mustering a combined 12 shots on goal. Carolina had a slight advantage 7-5 and for the most part took the play to Buffalo, but the first period ended with goose eggs on the scoreboard.
The teams found their offensive stride early in the second period exchanging decent amounts of pressure throughout the period.
Carolina opened the scoring at the 6:42 mark when Jeff Skinner rushed the puck to the front of the net. Chad Johnson failed to cover the loose puck and Phil Di Giuseppe backhanded his 6th of the season over the shoulder of Johnson for a 1-0 lead.
The Sabres answered 1:10 after Carolina’s goal when Marcus Foligno picked up a loose puck deep in the Hurricane’s zone and snapped it pass Cam Ward as he was falling to his knees. It was Foligno’s 9th of the season as he set a new season high for himself. The period ended 1-1.
The third period was very similar to the previous period with both teams putting strong pressure on at various times in the period and once again exchanged goals.
Buffalo took the lead five minutes into the period with a pretty three way passing play between Evander Kane, Sam Reinhart, and ending with a Jack Eichel tip in for his 21st of the season.
The lead didn’t last long however as the Hurricanes answered back at the 9:01 mark of the third. Victor Rask picked up a pass from Riley Nash in front of the Buffalo net minder and backhanded a power play goal past Chad Johnson for his 16th of the season.
The score remained tied at 2 until the final seconds of overtime when Evander Kane launched a high pass out of the Sabre zone. Eichel picked it up at the blue line, skated in on Cam Ward, and proceeded to slide it between the legs of the Carolina goal keeper for the 3-2 victory.
The line of Deslauriers, Girgensons, and Cal O’Reilly had a stand-out game for Buffalo, putting on strong pressure around the Carolina net several times throughout the game.
The two clubs will meet again in ten days as the Sabres will look to sweep the season series, 3-0. Buffalo defeated Carolina 4-2 in late November.
The Sabres will get a much-needed break to start the week after playing 5 games in the last eight days.
Next up for the Sabres will be Wednesday evening against Montreal as they play their second game of a three-game home stand.
The Canadiens defeated the Sabres 3-2 Thursday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal.