ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Less than a week into his NHL career, Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel checked a bunch of firsts off his list in Buffalo's preseason opener against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Monday.
There was his first shift about a minute in. There were his first "oohs" and "ahhs," and later in the same shift, his first minus.
But there was also his first point, his first goal and eventually his first win in a 3-2 victory. The first impression he left was a good one too.
With the score still tied 2-2, Eichel, the second player selected at the 2015 NHL Draft, took a breakout pass from defenseman Cody Franson in alone on a shorthanded breakaway. He showed the patience, deking enough to open Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper's legs, then tucked the puck five-hole for the game-winning goal.
"These goalies are so big and athletic these days, you just try to move them and find little holes," Eichel said. "Luckily I was able to find one there."