Eichel's end-to-end rush sparks Buffalo's 4-2 win over Vegas

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Jack Eichel shrugged off a sloppy, turnover-filled second period to deliver a breathtaking goal in showing continued signs of how much he's maturing into the Sabres leader in his fifth NHL season.

Rather than displaying tell-tale signs of frustration as he's done in the past, Buffalo's captain responded by scoring the go-ahead goal on an end-to-end rush 7:57 into the third period in a 4-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night.

''I definitely made some bad turnovers,'' said Eichel, including one that led to goalie Linus Ullmark making an acrobatic save to stop Paul Stastny set up in the slot.

''Give Linus credit. He made some huge saves for us,'' Eichel added. ''But we just stuck with it. It's a gutsy win. We needed that win.''

Eichel put the game in his hands with Vegas caught in the Buffalo end.

Building a head of steam, Eichel drove through the neutral zone to create a two-on-one break. Cutting to the left wing, Eichel burst past defenseman Shea Theodore, cut to the net and shifted from his backhand to forehand to flip the puck over Marc-Andre Fleury's glove.

The goal was Eichel's career-high-matching 28th of the season and sixth game-winner. And it came in a game in which he added an assist to become Buffalo's first player in 27 years to reach the 60-point mark in 46 or fewer games.

The last Buffalo players to have 60 points in fewer games were Alex Mogilny, who did it in 33 games in 1992-93, and Pat LaFontaine, in 34 the same season.

Teammate Kyle Okposo could only marvel at how Eichel regained his focus.

''I thought the way he came back in the third showed a lot of leadership on his part,'' Okposo said. ''It showed a lot of character. When the game was on the line, he took it over, and that was great to see, special to see.''

Sam Reinhart had a goal and two assists, and Okposo and Curtis Lazar, with an empty-netter, also scored. Ullmark finished with 24 saves, and the Sabres won for the fourth time in six games.

The loss didn't sit well with the Golden Knights, who have dropped four straight.

''It's tougher, especially when you're losing to teams you know that you're better than,'' forward Mark Stone said, referring to Vegas entering the game with four more wins and seven more points than Buffalo. ''We're a better hockey team. We just have to find ways to put the puck in the net. We've kind of gotten stale the last bunch of games.''

Reilly Smith and Tomas Nosek scored for the Golden Knights, whose skid matches their longest streak without a point in the franchise's three-year history. Vegas lost four in a row during an 0-4-1 skid from Nov. 7-16.

Fleury stopped 22 shots, while missing a chance to earn his 458th career win and move into a tie for fifth on the NHL list with New York Rangers Henrik Lundqvist.

Fleury blamed himself for giving up the short side by anticipating Eichel to pass rather than shoot on the decisive goal.

''You always think you can do much more,'' Fleury said. ''I feel I opened up too much for him to get the goal there.''

In reality, the Golden Knights squandered too many scoring opportunities and were undone by a penalty-killing unit that allowed two goals on three opportunities.

Jonathan Marchessault missed scoring into a wide-open net midway through the second period, while Chandler Stephenson had a shot beat Ullmark, only to have the puck slide through the crease and wide with under three minutes left.

The teams traded one-goal leads in the second period, and Eichel's goal regained Buffalo's momentum after Smith tied the game at 2 with a power-play goal 1:43 into the third period.

NOTES: The Sabres have converted 6 of 14 power-play chances over five games, after going 2 of 29 in their previous 12. ... Marchessault, one of four Golden Knights with 15 or more goals, returned after missing five games with a lower-body injury. ... Sabres C Tage Thompson will miss the remainder of the season after having surgery Tuesday to repair a right shoulder he injured in November. ... Vegas opened a stretch of playing eight straight on the road, spanning the NHL All-Star break, and won't be back home until Feb. 8, against Carolina.

UP NEXT

Golden Knights: At Ottawa Senators on Thursday.

Sabres: At Dallas Stars on Thursday.

---

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123T
LV24-19-6
0112
BUF21-19-7
0224
STARS OF THE GAME
SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
W. Carrier LW00010/0009:306
C. Eakin C00015/2012:301
D. Engelland D00010/0015:471
N. Hague D00010/0215:071
N. Holden D00010/0018:432
W. Karlsson C01-215/8018:430
J. Marchessault LW00-221/1016:142
B. McNabb D00000/0019:032
T. Nosek C10121/0012:391
M. Pacioretty LW00-150/1218:492
R. Reaves RW00000/0011:001
N. Schmidt D00000/0021:280
R. Smith RW10-140/0017:570
P. Stastny C00-138/5015:470
C. Stephenson C01104/11013:470
M. Stone RW00030/0020:050
S. Theodore D02000/0023:040
A. Tuch LW00-110/0215:292
SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
R. Dahlin D00-120/0014:120
J. Eichel C11239/7020:130
M. Frolik RW00-130/0014:100
Z. Girgensons LW00110/1015:530
M. Johansson C00-115/4015:211
H. Jokiharju D00000/0016:280
J. Larsson C00015/3018:101
C. Lazar C10127/5018:061
J. McCabe D00000/0017:402
C. Miller D01100/0613:134
B. Montour D00010/0021:551
K. Okposo RW10031/0017:551
L. Pilut D00110/0014:550
S. Reinhart RW12220/0019:320
R. Ristolainen D01100/0020:414
E. Rodrigues C00031/4211:351
C. Sheary LW01-100/0013:560
J. Vesey LW00030/0009:460
GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
M. Fleury (L)253220.88058:22
GOALIESSA
M. Fleury (L)25
GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
L. Ullmark (W)262240.92360:00
GOALIESSA
L. Ullmark (W)26
GOAL Curtis Lazar
LV:GoalsShots
BUF:GoalsShots
Full Play By Play
GOALS
  • 3RD PERIOD
    • BUF
      19:35GOAL Curtis Lazar
    • BUF
      19:35GOAL Curtis Lazar (Empty net shot)
    • BUF
      07:57GOAL Jack Eichel (Wrist shot), Assists: Sam Reinhart and Colin Miller
    • LV
      01:43(PP) GOAL Reilly Smith (Wrist shot), Assists: Shea Theodore and William Karlsson
  • 2ND PERIOD
    • BUF
      19:41(PP) GOAL Sam Reinhart (Wrist shot), Assists: Rasmus Ristolainen and Jack Eichel
    • BUF
      06:32(PP) GOAL Kyle Okposo (Wrist shot), Assists: Sam Reinhart and Conor Sheary
    • LV
      01:55GOAL Tomas Nosek , Assists: Chandler Stephenson and Shea Theodore
    PENALTIES
    • 3RD PERIOD
      • LV
        12:53Nicolas Hague penalty Holding the Stick - 2 min.
      • BUF
        01:36Colin Miller penalty Unsportsmanlike Conduct - 2 min.
      • BUF
        01:36Colin Miller penalty Tripping - 2 min.
    • 2ND PERIOD
      • LV
        19:14Bench penalty Too Many Men on the Ice - 2 min., served by Jonathan Marchessault
      • LV
        05:16Max Pacioretty penalty Interference - 2 min.
      • BUF
        03:04Colin Miller penalty Tripping - 2 min.
    • 1ST PERIOD
      • BUF
        14:29Evan Rodrigues penalty Holding - 2 min.
      • LV
        14:29Alex Tuch penalty Roughing - 2 min.
    TEAM STATS
    LV
    BUF
    Shots on Goal2626
    Goals in Power Play12
    Faceoff Wins2428
    Penalties44
    Major Penalties00
    Minor Penalties44
    Misconducts00
    TEAM STATS
    LV
    Shots on Goal26
    Goals in Power Play1
    Faceoff Wins24
    Penalties4
    Major Penalties0
    Minor Penalties4
    Misconducts0
    123T
    LV24-19-6
    0112
    BUF21-19-7
    0224
    STARS OF THE GAME
    7.7%SHOT %15.4%
    0.846%SAVE %0.923%
    SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
    W. Carrier LW00010/0009:306
    C. Eakin C00015/2012:301
    D. Engelland D00010/0015:471
    N. Hague D00010/0215:071
    N. Holden D00010/0018:432
    W. Karlsson C01-215/8018:430
    J. Marchessault LW00-221/1016:142
    B. McNabb D00000/0019:032
    T. Nosek C10121/0012:391
    M. Pacioretty LW00-150/1218:492
    R. Reaves RW00000/0011:001
    N. Schmidt D00000/0021:280
    R. Smith RW10-140/0017:570
    P. Stastny C00-138/5015:470
    C. Stephenson C01104/11013:470
    M. Stone RW00030/0020:050
    S. Theodore D02000/0023:040
    A. Tuch LW00-110/0215:292
    SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
    R. Dahlin D00-120/0014:120
    J. Eichel C11239/7020:130
    M. Frolik RW00-130/0014:100
    Z. Girgensons LW00110/1015:530
    M. Johansson C00-115/4015:211
    H. Jokiharju D00000/0016:280
    J. Larsson C00015/3018:101
    C. Lazar C10127/5018:061
    J. McCabe D00000/0017:402
    C. Miller D01100/0613:134
    B. Montour D00010/0021:551
    K. Okposo RW10031/0017:551
    L. Pilut D00110/0014:550
    S. Reinhart RW12220/0019:320
    R. Ristolainen D01100/0020:414
    E. Rodrigues C00031/4211:351
    C. Sheary LW01-100/0013:560
    J. Vesey LW00030/0009:460
    GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
    M. Fleury (L)253220.88058:22
    GOALIESSA
    M. Fleury (L)25
    GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
    L. Ullmark (W)262240.92360:00
    GOALIESSA
    L. Ullmark (W)26
    STARS OF THE GAME
    123T
    LV24-19-6
    0112
    BUF21-19-7
    0224
    SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
    W. Carrier LW00010/0009:306
    C. Eakin C00015/2012:301
    D. Engelland D00010/0015:471
    N. Hague D00010/0215:071
    N. Holden D00010/0018:432
    W. Karlsson C01-215/8018:430
    J. Marchessault LW00-221/1016:142
    B. McNabb D00000/0019:032
    T. Nosek C10121/0012:391
    M. Pacioretty LW00-150/1218:492
    R. Reaves RW00000/0011:001
    N. Schmidt D00000/0021:280
    R. Smith RW10-140/0017:570
    P. Stastny C00-138/5015:470
    C. Stephenson C01104/11013:470
    M. Stone RW00030/0020:050
    S. Theodore D02000/0023:040
    A. Tuch LW00-110/0215:292
    Total2402624/288-21
    SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
    R. Dahlin D00-120/0014:120
    J. Eichel C11239/7020:130
    M. Frolik RW00-130/0014:100
    Z. Girgensons LW00110/1015:530
    M. Johansson C00-115/4015:211
    H. Jokiharju D00000/0016:280
    J. Larsson C00015/3018:101
    C. Lazar C10127/5018:061
    J. McCabe D00000/0017:402
    C. Miller D01100/0613:134
    B. Montour D00010/0021:551
    K. Okposo RW10031/0017:551
    L. Pilut D00110/0014:550
    S. Reinhart RW12220/0019:320
    R. Ristolainen D01100/0020:414
    E. Rodrigues C00031/4211:351
    C. Sheary LW01-100/0013:560
    J. Vesey LW00030/0009:460
    Total4602628/248-16
    GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
    M. Fleury (L)253220.88058:22
    GOALIESSA
    M. Fleury (L)25
    GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
    L. Ullmark (W)262240.92360:00
    GOALIESSA
    L. Ullmark (W)26
    GOALS
    • 3RD PERIOD
    • 2ND PERIOD
      PENALTIES
      • 3RD PERIOD
      • 2ND PERIOD
      • 1ST PERIOD
      • 3RD PERIOD
      • 2ND PERIOD
      • 1ST PERIOD

      123T
      LV24-19-6
      0112
      BUF21-19-7
      0224
      TEAM STATS
      3.40
      GF AVG
      3.37
      GA AVG
      .67
      Power Play
      3.38
      GF AVG
      3.65
      GA AVG
      .65
      Power Play
      All times are US/Eastern.