At last, the Buffalo Sabres are back in the win column. Jack Eichel scored the game-winning goal in overtime as the Sabres cooled off the red-hot Calgary Flames 4-3.
Five observations from Wednesday’s win:
Finally, the Sabres are back in the win column. After three straight losses the Sabres needed a win and thanks to three goals in the third period and overtime they knocked off one of the best teams in the league.
Eichel OT winner— Ben Mathewson (@Ben_Mathewson) January 17, 2019
4-3 Buffalo pic.twitter.com/WLJi23bNQa
With such a successful start to the season, the Sabres are still very much in the playoff hunt. But if they slip up for another three game skid they could put themselves in too big of a hole.
Jack Eichel hadn’t tallied a point in five consecutive games. On Wednesday when his team needed him most he delivered. With an assist in the third period and the game-winning goal in overtime, Eichel showed us once again why he’s their best player.
Not so special teams
When the Sabres were winning, their penalty kill was lights out. These days, they can’t seem to stop anybody. On Wednesday the Flames scored twice with the man advantage — giving the Sabres three straight games when they’ve allowed their opponent to score while on the power play.
As for the Sabres power play, well that’s been pretty awful too. On their three attempts against the Flames, the Sabres failed to generate any top-notch chances or find the back of the net. But the struggles haven’t been an isolated issue. The Sabres have just one power-play goal on their previous 20 attempts dating back to Jan. 3. Something needs to change, especially for a team that desperately needs more goals.
Defense leading to Offense
When your top-line is struggling to find the back of the net two goals from can go a long way. On Wednesday both Rasmus Dahlin (five goals) and Jake McCabe (four goals) scored, keeping the Sabres in the game in the third period and ultimately stealing them two points.
The best offense is a good defense #SabresAfterDark pic.twitter.com/1OATuCeOBy— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) January 17, 2019
Beaulieu not on the Ice for warmups
According to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports in Montreal, Beaulieu has asked Sabres management for a trade. John Wawrow of the Associated Press later added to the initial report and said Beaulieu would be open to a trade if his role with the Sabres doesn’t change.
“He’s not unhappy with Buffalo, he’s just looking for more of an opportunity to play,” Beaulieu’s agent Kent Hughes told Wawrow.
Should we be surprised? Beaulieu has been a lot better this year but with the emergence of Pilut his minutes took a serious hit. With Matt Hunwick [and Casey Nelson] also in the mix, moving on could make sense for both sides #Sabres @WKBW https://t.co/4Z9qOKV3HO— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) January 17, 2019
So what happens moving forward? At this point, all we can do is wait and see.