Sabres vs. Jets Recap: The Fasch and the furious Sabres win 3-2
A trio of rookies spoiled Drew Stafford and Joel Armia's return to Buffalo.
Buffalo's rookies dragged them out of an early 2-0 hole by scoring three straight, showing a taste of the Sabres' future in a 3-2 victory.
Hudson Fasching scored his first NHL goal eight minutes into his debut. He capitalized on Jacob Trouba losing an edge, skating around the fallen defenseman and crashing the net. Casey Nelson got his NHL point on the goal as well, getting the secondary assist.
Fasching 1st NHL goal pic.twitter.com/SbAuXpYAMv— Stephanie (@myregularface) March 26, 2016
Sam Reinhart tied the game in the third period, thanks largely to the had work of Zemgus Girgensons. The Latvian forward won the faceoff, went straight to the net, and shot a puck that went straight to Reinhart on the rebound.
Girgensons going to the net off the faceoff on that goal. #23 with the finish. pic.twitter.com/uiDpwj5gnF— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) March 26, 2016
Jack Eichel put the cherry on top to give the Sabres their first lead of the night. Reinhart sent him a no-look behind-the-back pass, allowing Eichel to speed down the ice and snipe the puck past Michael Hutchinson's glove. The goal is his 23rd, the team lead, and makes him the first Sabres rookie to score 50 points since Derek Plante in 1993-'94.
Behind-the-back pass by Reinhart to send Eichel on his way just a few minutes after #23's goal... pic.twitter.com/6lVaIBkBWh— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) March 26, 2016
...Eichel then with the finish for his team-leading 23rd goal. #NextChapter pic.twitter.com/l41tzEA77d— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) March 26, 2016
In fact, every goal in today's game was scored by a rookie, as Winnipeg's two goals were scored by Nikolaj Ehlers and Andrew Copp.
Despite some solid pressure early on, Winnipeg took a quick 2-0 lead in the first five minutes of the game. The Jets were given free reign on the right wing side, allowing forwards to crash the net for high-quality chances. Ehlers blew past Jake McCabe, while Copp's goal was caused by poor positioning by Mark Pysyk.
Buffalo was able to settle down and slowly work their way back into it. The Sabres outshot the Jets 29 to 19, and you could feel it in the building. It was one of the most engaged crowds of the year, a sign of things to come when the Sabres are able to put a consistent winning product on the ice.
It's a little early, but it's starting to look like it's all coming together for the Sabres. A few more pieces here and there, and they may just have something.
The Sabres had a video tribute for Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford during the game. Stafford started the game on a line with Joel Armia, and finished a -2. Myers is out for the year with an injury but was in the building. He was chatting with some of his former teammates in the bowels of the FNC after the game.
The Sabres start a road trip Monday when they travel to Detroit.
1. How will Hudson Fasching and Casey Nelson look in their debuts?
Fasching scored in the first, but only played one minute in the second. He got a longer look in the third period, playing on the top line with Ryan O'Reilly and Evander Kane. He didn't look at all out of place, but was sheltered and given offensive zone starts a majority of the game.
Nelson showed why the Sabres were very interested in him, getting shots through and skating very well. He set up a chance for Girgensons on his first shift.
2. Will any tempers flair between Evander Kane and the Jets?
Kane and Dustin Byfuglien had a few words for each other at the end of the second period, but it didn't translate into any rough stuff in the third.
3. Can Ryan O'Reilly stay hot?
O'Reilly was held off the score sheet tonight.