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Sabres vs. Red Wings Recap: Eichel’s pair not enough, Sabres fall 4-3

Today’s game was a summary of the season so far – it leaves you excited about the future, but reminds you this team isn’t ready just yet.

The future stars made their mark, as Jack Eichel scored a pair of goals and Sam Reinhart tied the game at three, but a late goal from Tomas Tatar helped Detroit hand Buffalo its fourth straight loss.

Eichel brought the Sabres back into the game after falling behind by two goals. His first was another example of his stellar shot, beating a screened Peter Mrazek on the far side. His second came with a little help. Multiple players fell, opening up a perfect lane for him to skate in all alone. His shot went off the bar, of the goalie and slowly trickled in.

So how good has Eichel been this year? With the two goals, Eichel ties Detroit’s Dylan Larkin for first in goals among rookies with 13. He’s been on fire lately, notching 11 points in his last seven games. He’s two points behind Ryan O’Reilly for the team lead.

The Sabres opened the third period trapped in their own end, culminating in a rebound goal from Henrik Zetterbreg two minutes in. Buffalo didn’t lose composure after relenquishing the lead, impressive for the young bunch that they are.

Sam Reinhart shoveled home a rebound in the middle of the third to tie the game at three. The Sabres were all whacking away at the puck, with Reinhart getting the first shot on net. That attempt was blocked, but found its way back to Sam, who didn’t miss on his second chance.

Evander Kane had a great chance to give the Sabres their first lead on a 2-on-1 in the closing minutes, but his tendency to hit the post struck once again. The Red Wings cleared the zone, and on the following possession Tatar scored the weakest goal of the night on Chad Johnson.

Buffalo’s best chance to tie things at four was an incredible two-line pass from Eichel to a streaking Zach Bogosian. The Sabres’ defenseman came in on a breakaway, but shot the puck right at Mrazek’s chest.

The victory ends a three-game losing streak for Detroit, who is fighting for the final playoff spot in the Atlantic.

There seems to be a shift among fans after the past few games, as the Sabres have become frustrating and continue a slide to the bottom three spots of the standings. It’s important to remember this is still a rebuild. The top two scoring lines feature teenage rookies, and the bottom six haven’t produced. They are missing a top defenseman, a top-six winger. They are playing without the starting goalie, Robin Lehner, and have missed Mark Pysyk for a month.

This team isn’t complete, and it isn’t supposed to be. Remember the mantra at the beginning of the season. This year is about fun, enjoying the talent here without any real expectations. If you get too down, remember that this team will get another huge building block at the end of the year, if they finish last or not.

Two Questions

1. Can the Sabres end their scoring troubles?

For much of the game it seems that the Sabres scoring issues would continue, but three goals in the second half of the game changed the Sabres’ outlook. This afternoon was the first time the Sabres scored more than two goals since their last victory against Boston. The Sabres scored two goals on the powerplay, something they’ve struggled with quite a bit as of late.

2. Can the Buffalo depth players start producing?

It was the same cast of characters on the score sheet for the Sabres. Eichel’s two goals extended his streak to seven straight Sabres goals where he got a point. That run was ended when Reinhart scored unassisted in the third.