Eichel paves way with 4 goals

The Buffalo Sabres finally snapped a six-game losing steak, beating the Ottawa Senators by a score of 4-2 Saturday night at Key Bank Center.

Captain Jack Eichel led the way with a hat-trick plus 1, scoring all four of the Sabres’ goals. He potted his fourth goal of the game, and 12th of the season, into the empty net with 14 seconds remaining in the third period.

The ice-breaker came with 12:13 into the third period. With the game tied at two, Eichel took a feed from Jeff Skinner and stormed down the ice beating Senator’s goalie Craig Anderson short side.

Eichel’s other two goals helped provide the punch the Sabres needed against an Ottawa team that wouldn’t go away quietly.

Jack opened the scoring in the game at 1:28 into the second period. After Rasmus Dahlin won a battle against the wall, Sam Reinhart corralled the puck and fed Eichel with a touch-pass. Eichel came down the wing and beat Anderson short side – a soft spot for him on the night.

The Senators responded quickly, however. Just as a 5-on-3 power-play came to a close, Anthony Duclair scored his seventh goal of the year to tie the game at one. It’s been noted the struggles of the Sabres specialty teams of late, especially the penalty-kill. They went 2 for 3 on the PK tonight.

Three or so minutes later, Eichel got back to work. On a nice outlet pass by Jake McCabe, Eichel eventually found himself all alone in the high-slot, roofing his second of the game to give the Sabres a 2-1 lead – Victor Olofsson and Reinhart picking up the assists.

The third period is where things got somewhat precarious. Former Sabre Tyler Ennis scored two minutes into the period to tie the game at two. All alone in front of the net, Ennis deflected a Ron Hainsey shot, beating the Buffalo netminder Linus Ullmark.

What became noticeably unfortunate next was two things. One is the fact that Kyle Okposo would not be returning to the game after suffering a pretty bad collision with Hainsey in the second period. He has a history of concussions.

Second, it became apparent that Dahlin was being benched for the final frame of the game. At first glance at the score sheet, it was thought he was on the ice for the Ennis goal, but indeed his last shift came in the second period. At the beginning of the third, Eichel was seen on the bench trying to uplift the 19-year-old defenseman.

Dahlin and the Sabres get right back at it tomorrow as they face-off against the Chicago Blackhawks in Chicago. With Ullmark’s 21-save performance tonight, it’s likely Carter Hutton will be in net tomorrow. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

Matt Studemeyer
Matt Studemeyer
Although born and raised in Charleston, SC, I've had a passion for both hockey and the Buffalo Sabres since childhood. In addition to writing, I'm also an avid musician/guitarist and currently work in the moving and transportation industry.
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