OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Jack Eichel finally made his season debut and gave the Buffalo Sabres a big boost.
After missing the first 21 games due to sprained ankle just before the season opener, Eichel had a goal and an assist to help the Sabres beat the Ottawa Senators 5-4 on Tuesday night.
''I was really excited and had a lot of energy waiting for the game to start,'' Eichel said. ''I think it helps a little bit when you're able to get a couple points on the power play at the beginning of the game. It kind of settles you down.''
Ryan O'Reilly had two goals and an assist for Buffalo, and Kyle Okposo and Sam Reinhart also scored.
''It's a momentum thing,'' O'Reilly said. ''You go out there and you watch (Eichel's) line and they're possessing and he's making plays and creating and coming on right after that it's the same thing, you kind of feed off that.
''The power play too, once he gets the puck it's so tough for people to get it off him.''
Robin Lehner started and gave up one goal on six shots before leaving late in the first period. Anders Nilsson replaced him and stopped 26 shots for Buffalo.
Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said Lehner is day to day with a hip injury.
Mike Hoffman had three goals and an assist for the Senators, and Mark Stone also scored in his 200th NHL game. Craig Anderson, making his sixth straight start, made 23 saves.
Ottawa scored twice on the power play, but also gave up three while short-handed.
''We lost the special teams battle,'' Anderson said. ''At the end of the day you've got to win the special teams battle or tie it to give yourself a chance. Usually we're pretty good, but we just weren't able to shut those guys down for some reason.''
Senators coach Guy Boucher said his team's slow start was the difference.
''That's what killed us, that's what sank us,'' Boucher said. ''I think our guys showed, like usual, a resiliency in coming back and we wanted it to be a one-goal game coming into the third so we did that. So we were only one goal behind, but then we didn't get the goal.''
O'Reilly extended Buffalo's lead to 5-3 with a power-play goal with 3:17 left.
Hoffman got the Senators within one on the game's fifth power-play goal with 1:31 remaining to complete his hat trick with his seventh of the season, but that was as close as Ottawa got.
Trailing 3-1, Stone got the Senators within one on a power-play goal at 8:20 of the second after pouncing on a loose puck. It gave him five goals and four assists in his last eight games.
The Sabres restored their two-goal lead as Evander Kane's shot deflected past Anderson off Reinhart's skate with 2:52 left in the second.
Ottawa cut the lead again as Hoffman tipped Erik Karlsson's shot just 43 seconds later.
Buffalo opened the scoring 6:16 in with a power-play goal as Ottawa's Cody Ceci tried to tie up Reinhart in front of the net, but instead had Okposo's shot go in off his skate.
Eichel scored his first, on the power play, 3:15 later.
The Senators cut the lead in half as Hoffman buried Mark Borowiecki's rebound with 6;13 left in the period, but the Sabres replied 31 seconds later as O'Reilly came into the slot and scored off his backhand.
By the end of the game the Senators were without Bobby Ryan, who aggravated a hand injury early in the second and Marc Methot who suffered a lower body injury late in the second.
NOTES: Senators G Andrew Hammond was recalled early Tuesday and was a healthy scratch, as was LW Max McCormick and D Fredrik Claesson. ... The Sabres were without D Zach Bogosian (knee) and D Dmitry Kulikov (unknown).
Sabres: Host the New York Rangers on Thursday night.
Senators: Host Philadelphia on Thursday night.
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