The Sabres snapped a three-game winless streak (0-2-1) with a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
Captain Jack Eichel, who missed Thursday’s game because of an upper-body injury, returned and had an assist to extend his personal point streak to 18 games. Eichel has 32 points (16 goals, 16 assists) during the streak.
“In the first period, I think it took me a little bit to get into it,” Eichel said. “But I think I got more into the game as it went on and started to feel better. I had some chances.”
Defensemen have played a large role in the Sabres’ offense and Saturday was no exception, as Rasmus Ristolainen and Marco Scandella scored the tying and go-ahead goals, respectively, after the Sabres fell behind 1-0.
Ristolainen scored on a rebound off Jeff Skinner‘s shot to get the Sabres on the board.
“I think our forwards are really working two ways,” Ristolainen told the Buffalo News. “It’s really easy to trust them, they’re coming back (on defense). I saw maybe one forward was changing there, so I felt a little chance to go down to the net and the puck got to me and I put it in.”
Ristolainen has nine points in Buffalo’s past 12 games, and Sabres defensemen have combined for 82 points through 37 games.
“You can see D diving in and making some more plays, playing with more confidence,” Scandella told the News. “Opening up space for the forwards and, at the same time, we’re going to be getting chances, too.”
The Senators have lost three of four (1-1-2) following Saturday’s 5-4 shootout defeat against the visiting Philadelphia Flyers. It was rare home loss of late for Ottawa, which has won eight of its last 10 at Canadian Tire Centre.
Tyler Ennis had two goals and an assist for the Senators. Marcus Hogberg made 34 saves.
“For the guys we had on the back end, some of the young guys that haven’t had a lot of experience in the league, against some elite players, I thought some guys played really hard,” Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said. “I thought, being down 2-0, we just kept playing. And then being down in the third, we found a way (to force overtime).”
Ottawa was playing without three of its top six defensemen — Dylan DeMelo, Ron Hainsey and Nikita Zaitsev.
Defenseman Mark Borowiecki had a goal and an assist, giving him four points in his past three games.
“He shoots the puck. He doesn’t play around, he doesn’t get it and make a bunch of moves; he just puts everything on net,” Smith said. “And when you shoot pucks, pucks sometimes go in. He doesn’t give you an inch, he plays hard, he gave us a great game tonight.”
Goalie Craig Anderson could return against the Sabres. He’s missed six games with a knee injury suffered against the Flyers on Dec. 14. The team didn’t hold a morning skate before Saturday’s game.
“I just want to give Andy one more practice,” Smith said Saturday. “He could go, but we’ll give him the practice (Sunday) and then give him a crack at Buffalo.”
–Field Level Media