Sam Reinhart notched a goal and an assist in one of the more entertaining games of the season, a 3-1 victory over the playoff-hopeful Ottawa Senators.
The Sabres dominated possession for a majority of the game, looking dominant offensively even shorthanded. The Sabres strung together long offensive attack after another, with some lasting multiple shifts. The Sabres lived in the offensive zone so frequently they could have starting laying down brick.
Reinhart opened up the scoring in the first period, tapping a puck past Craig Anderson off a rebound. Reinhart and Jack Eichel are the third pair of Sabres rookies to score at least 20 goals in a season, and the first since Danny Gare and Peter McNab in 1974-75. Gilbert Perreault and Steve Adkinson also accomplished the feat in the Sabres first season. Reinhart and Eichel are also the first Sabres rookies to tally 35 or more points in the same season since 1987-88.
After giving up the equalizer to Alex Chiasson three minutes later, Ryan O'Reilly showed the immense talent that the Sabres have missed during his four weeks away. He was left alone on the Senators' sideboards, allowing him to shoot a perfect pass to Nick Deslauriers out front. O'Reilly has 11 assists in his last 11 games.
Reinhart and Eichel combined forces to round out the scoring for the Sabres. Near perfect passes from Eichel to Reinhart and Reinhart to Bogosian set the Sabres' defenseman up with a wide-open net.
Buffalo escaped some dirty play by the Senators unscathed. Dion Phaneuf took a run at Reinhart's head in the third period, but luckily for Reinhart he realised it at the last second. Bogosian fought the former Maple Leafs captain, who earned a two-minute minor for illegal hit to the head.
Chris Neil crossed generations with a dirty play of his own. Nine years after his hit on Chris Drury, he gave some shots to a defenseless Eichel on the boards. Eichel had been taking down on the play after he slid past Chris Wideman.
Chris Neil going after a defenseless Jack Eichel @JeremyWGR @Bulldogwgr pic.twitter.com/fOD4Ra5BJP— Harrison Bacon (@HarrisonBacon) March 19, 2016
Buffalo travels up the QEW for tomorrow's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
1. What's up with the surprise call-ups?
Robin Lehner and Carlo Colaiacovo are both out with short-term injuries, leading to the Sabres calling up Nathan Lieuwen and Chad Ruhwedel from Rochester. Lieuwen served as the team's backup, while Chad Ruhwedel played his first NHL game of the season. He played 15 minutes alongside Mark Pysyk on the third pairing, making his big impact by saving a sure goal in the third period. A puck rolled off Johnson's shoulder and was trickling in, but he swooped in at the last second.
2. Can the second line get on the score sheet tonight?
Reinhart scored on the powerplay, and he and Eichel helped set up Bogosian for his goal. It was a very strong night for the two young stars.