5 observations from Sabres vs. Hurricanes

Posted at 10:34 PM, Oct 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-04 22:34:27-04

The Buffalo Sabres improved to 3-2 on the preseason, following a 2-0 win Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes in Marquette, Michigan. Robin Lehner stopped 28 shots and had another impressive game.

Five observations from Tuesday’s win:

Jack’s Back (and wearing an A)

Eichel dished out one tape-to-tape pass after another in his first preseason game of the season. It didn’t take long for the 19-year-old forward to once again look like the Sabres' best player. Early in the first period, Eichel made a quick cut at the blue line, juking a defender and then firing a quick shot. He didn’t score, but he did generate a scoring chance. Anytime Eichel hits the net with his quick release there’s a chance the puck finds the back of the net. His most impressive play came late in the second, winning a battle in the corner while on one knee -- seconds later the Sabres scored and Eichel had himself an assist. Welcome back, Jack.

Lehner impresses

Lehner stopped every shot (28) he faced Tuesday night, earning his first shutout of the preseason. From start to finish, Lehner was able to track shots from the point and make saves through traffic. Late in third he made one of his best saves of the night sliding from one side of the blue paint to the other stopping a one-timer from between the circles. In his first game last week– Lehner let in two goals but played a really solid game. Injuries are the big concern with the 25-year-old goaltender but if he can stay healthy this season, which I think he will, then the Buffalo Sabres will have their goalie of the future. If not, Cal Peterson is still a few years away.

Sabres power-play. Yikes.

The Sabres went 0-for-5 on the power-play – making them an abysmal 0-for-25 so far this preseason. Seriously, 0-for-25. Sabres coach Dan Bylsma joked after last Thursday's game against the Leafs that things would be different when they were playing with their normal roster. He’s probably right, but 0-for-25 is ridiculously bad. The good news – they generated more chances Tuesday against the Hurricanes than they have in their previous games. The bad news – they still couldn’t score. No need to panic just yet, but if the Sabres start the regular season 0-for-25, then fans should really be concerned. 

Hudson Fasching continues to impress

It took Fasching a few games to get settled in but in his last few outings, the Sabres forward has looked dominant at times, especially when battling for possession. Nicolas Deslauriers scored the Sabres' first goal on a nice individual effort but he wouldn’t have had the chance if Fasching didn’t box out a defender and send a perfect pass to the slot. Fasching offers a rare mix of size and ability, making him such an intriguing prospect. After these last few games it’s hard to imagine the Sabres sending Fasching to Rochester. Although I do think time in the AHL certainly could help the young forward, I think he’s ready for an NHL season right now.

That’s where Reinhart parks his car

Remember that Eichel play we talked about earlier? Well, Reinhart was the one who actually got the goal. He was camped in front of the net and perfectly deflected a wrist shot from the stick of Casey Nelson, past the Carolina goaltender for his first goal of the preseason. Like many, I expect Eichel and Reinhart to be paired together when the regular season begins. Last year, Reinhart had a knack for scoring goals in front of the net. If he’s able to continue scoring those goals this season -- and I think he will -- you can expect his production to continue to improve. Good players don’t just score the pretty goals that make the highlight reel – they get the ones around the blue paint, too.

The Sabres play their next preseason game Wednesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.

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