Eichel scores twice, Sabres beat Senators 3-2
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Jack Eichel’s impressive rookie season continued on Tuesday night.
Eichel scored twice to erase a one-goal deficit, Robin Lehner made 34 saves in his first victory this season and the Buffalo Sabres came back to beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2.
Eichel tied it 2-2 with 6:12 left in the second period, then got the winner 1:08 into the third to help the Sabres end a three-game slide.
“It’s big to get a win like that,” said Eichel, who moved to within a goal of NHL rookie goal leader Artemi Panarin with his 15th and 16th of the year. “We came back twice and we were able to lock it down in the third. That’s what good teams do.”
On his second goal, Eichel charged the net after a chip shot by Zemgus Girgensons but stopped on the goal line. When goalie Craig Anderson couldn’t control the rebound, Eichel was able to slide the puck into the open net for the deciding goal.
Lehner’s play was crucial late when the Senators outshot the Sabres 22-2 in the third period. Lehner was traded to Buffalo last summer after six seasons in the Ottawa organization.
“It feels really good and I feel like I’ve been playing pretty well and getting better every game and every practice,” said Lehner, who sprained his ankle in the first game of the season and was making just his fifth start since coming back.
“It was nice, especially here. There are a lot of memories here.”
Evander Kane had the other goal for Buffalo.
Erik Karlsson and Bobby Ryan scored for the Senators, and Anderson stopped 19-of-22 shots.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau thought he had tied the game in the final moments of the third, but a review showed time had expired.
“It’s unfortunate and I wish we would have had one more second on the clock, but that’s the game,” Pageau said.
Ottawa held a pair of one-goal leads during the first two periods, but both times, the Sabres tied it.
Lehner stopped Chris Neil with the Senators’ first shot of the game, but Karlsson was there to put the rebound in at 6:42. After a lengthy review following a coach’s challenge for goaltender interference, the goal was allowed.
The Sabres tied the game at 11:12 on a bizarre play. Kane was pressuring Senators defenseman Jared Cowan along the boards when Cowan tried to rim the puck behind the net. The puck hit the end boards and went to the side of the net, where Anderson fumbled with it at the post before Kane arrived and poked it in.
The Sens took a 2-1 lead just past the midway point of the second period when Ryan picked up a loose puck at the edge of the crease and beat Lehner.
Less than 4 minutes later, though, Lehner sprung Eichel, and he sped down the right side. He beat Cowan to the outside and used his long reach to score on a wraparound at 13:48 on the power play.
“We had chances to tie it up, but at the same time we don’t want to put ourselves in positions like that where we have to score not only once, but twice to win the game,” Karlsson said.
″(Lehner) was solid and he came up big for them and made some really big saves and pretty much stole the game at the end.”
Notes: Marc Methot, Kyle Turris and Milan Michalek were all scratches for the Senators. ... Josh Georges, Carlo Colaiacovo and Philip Varone were scratches for the Sabres. ... Twelve of the past 16 meetings between the Senators and Sabres have been decided by one goal. ... At almost four shots and three hits per game, Kane is the only player in the league to lead his team in both those categories. ... Forward David Legwand and Lehner made their first trip back to Ottawa since an offseason trade sent them to the Sabres.