It was the first homecoming for Massachusetts native Jack Eichel and he did not disappoint. The Sabres rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the 3rd to defeat the Boston Bruins 6-3.
The third period saw opportunities at both ends, but Boston converted first to go up 3-1. David Krejci, who has been one of Boston’s top players this season, batted a rebound in mid air just under the cross bar to increase the Bruins lead.
The Sabres rallied with Ryan O’Reilly beating Gustavsson on the right side after Mike Weber threw the puck around the boards to the right. 39 seconds later after Buffalo pushed back into the zone Jack McCabe made a nice cross ice pass to the right side where Jack Eichel set and fired a quick shot into the skate of the Bruins Colin Miller to even the game at three.
The Bruins were effectively stunned by this point and Buffalo took advantage. The Sabres took the lead after Ryan O’Reilly fought hard behind the Bruins net to setup Jamie McGinn on the right side who made a nice deke and backhanded the puck over Gustavsson.
Eichel then ended the Bruins hopes in the last minute and a half by scoring an empty net goal all the way from the Sabres blue line on the right side. It was his second goal of the night. Ryan O’Reilly also got an empty net goal to complete the Sabres 6-3 comeback.
Buffalo outshot Boston 10-9 in the third and decidedly won the Corsi battle 57% to 42%.
Sabre fans know Eichel is a good player, but this was the type of game we have been waiting for where he takes over a game and was a major reason for the win. It should be a nice confidence booster for the rookie who has had a quieter month and seemed to have hit a little rookie wall recently.
Jack Eichel: Like I said above we all know he will be a great player, but this may have been his first marquee great game and he did it in his hometown. It was fun to watch him tonight.
Ryan O’Reilly: This guy has a thing for clutch goals and play that we haven’t seen since Drury and Briere. He consistently has been the guy the Sabres depend on when things get rough and his play has backed that commitment by the team. His work and willingness to get dirty on the McGinn goal was a perfect example of what he does night in night out.
Sabres power play: It is better then it has been in previous years, but it has now been five straight games since the Sabres scored on with the man advantage. Maybe this means they will break that streak against the red hot Capitals on Monday but it has been pretty bad the last few games.
Zemgus Girgensons: He does a lot of the little things right most of the time, but he had a few iffy plays and just seemed out of the flow. He has also struggled scoring this season with just five points in 31 games. By comparison last year at this point he already had 15 points with a worse team around him.
The Sabres return to action Monday in Washington against the Capitals at 7 p.m.