BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - For only the second time this season the Buffalo Sabres have won back-to-back games, dismantling the Edmonton Oilers 5-0. Sam Reinhart, Ryan O'Reilly [twice], Zemgus Girgensons and Jack Eichel scored for the Sabres, who improve to 13-26-9.
Five observations from Tuesday's win:
Eight in Seven
At long last, the Sabres power play has started to look like the top-rated unit fans grew accustomed to last season. In their previous seven games, the power play has scored eight goals and that doesn't include Eichel's game-winner in Calgary on Monday, where the puck crossed the line at the very moment the man advantage came to an end.
For months the power play has been an area where the Sabres have struggled. Maybe, just maybe, the unit has finally turned a corner. On Tuesday against the Oilers it certainly looked like that was the case.
*takes out soapbox*
Don't split up the Eichel, Reinhart, Ristolainen, Okposo and O'Reilly unit ever again
*puts away soapbox*
Power play has been pretty impressive lately, my column #SabresAfterDark— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) January 24, 2018
With a goal and three assists on Tuesday, Jack Eichel is now averaging more than point-per-game with 20 goals and 29 assists [49 points] in 48 games. Despite the Sabres struggles, Eichel has been the lone bright spot, extending his point streak to seven games. During that stretch, Eichel has five goals and nine assists [14 points]. Don't kid yourselves, he might not publicly say it, but he knew exactly who he was against on Tuesday and showed up, with one of his best games of the season.
49 points in 48 games. https://t.co/IsGJnE7rQJ— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) January 24, 2018
Bicycle built for two
Like his roommate, Sam Reinhart is playing his best hockey of the season. It has been an incredibly slow start to the year for the former second-overall pick but lately, he has turned things around, tallying six points in five games. Reinhart doesn't deserve a pass for his early struggles but he's certainly heading in the right direction.
After a rocky performance in his last outing, Robin Lehner responded in a big way. Of course, it was on a night when he had all the run-support in the world, but nevertheless, Lehner was perfect stopping all 33 shots he faced.
Normally when a goaltender gets a shutout that is the biggest story of the night. That wasn't the case against the Oilers but Lehner was awesome and deserves major props for holding down the fort and picking up his second shutout of the season.
Best period of the season
Just days after allowing the Dallas Stars to score four goals in the second period the Sabres did it themselves. Buffalo kept applying pressure and didn't stop and they were ultimately rewarded for it.
For my money, the second period against the Oilers was the Sabres best 20 minutes of the season. It didn't hurt that the Oilers looked as bad as the Sabres did in the second period against the Stars.