Tonight, many of those Sabres fans are silently retracting those comments after Eichel helped power his team to his own impressive late comeback, bringing the Sabres back from down three goals in the third period to a 5-4 overtime victory.
In the OT period, Eichel stole the puck behind his own net, and with a burst of speed, flew away on a 2-on-1 with Evander Kane as the crowd rose to their feet in anticipation. Jack would thread a perfect pass to Kane, who slammed the puck past Martin Jones to complete an epic comeback that might have been the Sabres’ most exciting game (or maybe just third period) of the season.
Sabres play by play man Dan Dunleavy summed it up best with this fantastic call as the action came to a crescendo: “It’s a 2-on-1...Eichel carries...Kane buries! SCOOORES! Turn out the lights, Buffalo storms back in overtime, and continue their Shark hunting in the National Hockey League!” And the crowd went wild.
Eichel finished with two assists, and Kane finished with two goals as the pair were Buffalo’s most impactful players. The new Cardiac Kids continue to exhibit a never-say-die attitude, and while their propensity for slacking off in the second period will keep them from the playoffs if they can’t turn that weakness around, it’s a nice sign of improvement that the team continues to fight even when down by multiple goals.
The Sabres got off to a nice start, scoring the opening goal in the first on the power play thanks to Matt Moulson, who notched his 11th of the season thanks to a nifty pass from Tyler Ennis. With the team’s recent home success, and their immaculate record over the past few years against the Sharks, it seemed things were trending up for the blue and gold.
Aaaaaand then it was mostly downhill from there. Over the remainder of the first two periods, the Sabres would go on to give up three unanswered goals and would be outshot 31-18 through two. It was the typical Buffalo combo of being unable to complete simple passes and zone exits combined with being out of position in their own zone that led to the team getting booed off the ice during the second intermission.
The third period didn’t start any better, with Joe Pavelski scoring to put the Sharks up 4-1. And so we all settled in for a depressing third period, with fans streaming to the exits early rather than watch another lifeless period.
Only the Sabres didn’t see it that way. Ryan O’Reilly got the ball rolling with a power paly goal with about ten minutes left. Kane and Okposo scored almost a minute apart from each other to tie the game. The Sabres survived a late onslaught by the San Jose All-Stars, and the game went to overtime, where Kane and Eichel would put the dagger in a team that the Sabres somehow, some way, continue to dominate for no real reason.
On his game winner, Kane caught his skate on the post and tumbled into the boards, bringing back images of his early season injury. He said after the game was “OK,” but also had his arm/wrist wrapped in a towel after the game, according to TBN.
The rollercoaster of emotions the Sabres took their fans on tonight isn’t something I’d like to see every night, but when this team is good, they’re (dare we say it) scary good. The only problem is that we don’t see that version of the blue and gold often enough.
As fun as this victory was, the Sabres been in this situation before. Will this be the start of a decent run of wins, or was this just another “up” in season of ups and downs?
For tonight, Sabres fans can sleep with a smile, and know that their team has the talent to hang with the NHL’s strong teams...when they want to.
1. How will Anders Nilsson perform tonight?
Nilsson had a shaky start, with four goals through 45 minutes, but he was necessarily strong in the late third period and overtime. Another win at home for the man who only wins at home.
2. Can the Sabres continue their weird dominance over San Jose?
Yes. I still can’t explain it, but we’re not complaining.
Comment of the Game
This Makes Me Happy And Angry
At the same time.
Play the whole damn game you glorious bastards!
Posted by T McGee