Eichel wins it in OT

Jack Eichel maintained possession of the puck for nearly as long as overtime lasted as he ripped a shot past Matiss Kivlenieks in overtime to give Buffalo a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday afternoon at KeyBank Center. 

“He makes it look so effortless, he waits, waits, waits and his shot is so lethal…he’s getting rewarding for the work he’s put in.” – Evan Rodrigues

Following back-to-back losses on home ice, the Sabres played a hard-fought game against a team ahead of them in the standings. Buffalo gave up their 1-0 lead about six minutes into the third period as Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his fifth goal in the last three games. 

But Eichel took matters into his own hands to get the job done. His goal set a franchise record of eight career regular-season overtime goals, and he’s only 23 years old. Curtis Lazar played an important role in the overtime session by winning the opening draw and then heading directly to the bench to allow Sam Reinhart to get on the ice. That helped give the Sabres complete possession for the entire OT. 

Carter Hutton got a much-needed win of his own in this one, stopping 22 of 23 shots.

Brandon Montour is considered day-to-day with a lower-body injury, but the team has a few days off in between games so he may be able to play on Tuesday.

The win gives Buffalo an important two points, but things were looking extremely rough over the first two games of the homestand. They played a much better hockey game today and they need to try to build off of this effort. 

Hutton had been struggling since October, but since Linus Ullmark went down with an injury he has been much better. It’s still a small sample size, but Hutton’s play has improved and that’s certainly a welcome sign. He’ll get a chance at the majority of games especially if he continues this strong play, but we should get a chance to see Jonas Johansson in goal in the next week or so to give Hutton a break. 

The Sabres snapped a three-game losing streak with this one but have a better opponent coming into their building on Tuesday. The Colorado Avalanche pose a big challenge and the Sabres are desperate for points. Buffalo will follow that up with a nationally televised game against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. 

Kevin Freiheit
I founded Buffalo Hockey Central in 2008 and have poured hours and hours into this site. Luckily, we have a great team of writers and designers who have helped keep this up and running despite a ton of out-of-pocket costs. We do this because we enjoy it, and we're desperate to see the Sabres win the Cup someday, but they have to make the playoffs first.
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