Skip to main content
game recap

Jack Eichel pushes Sabres past Kings

Forward has two goals, assist; Buffalo extends streak against Los Angeles

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Jack Eichel scored two goals and had an assist to help the Buffalo Sabres to a 6-3 win against the Los Angeles Kings at KeyBank Center on Tuesday.

The Sabres (11-11-6) have won eight straight games at home against Los Angeles since Feb. 21, 2003. The Kings (14-12-2) have lost three of their past four and play their next eight on the road.

Buffalo scored four goals 6:13 apart in the second period to take a 4-2 lead. 

 

WATCH: All Kings vs. Sabres highlights

 

Eichel's first goal with 6:24 left in the second came on a shot that went under Peter Budaj's right pad. Brian Gionta followed 12 seconds later with his seventh goal of the season when he deflected a shot from Justin Falk past Budaj. Goalie Jeff Zatkoff replaced Budaj after Gionta's goal, but Budaj returned in the third.

Eichel's second goal came 2:04 after Gionta's goal when he circled in the zone and skated into the slot, where he took a shot that went over Zatkoff's right shoulder.

Eichel has five goals in seven games since returning from a left high ankle sprain that caused him to miss the first 21 games of the season.

"I just tried to pick my spot and get it there," Eichel said. "It feels good to get rewarded. We just want to keep this thing going and get a few wins before Christmas. It's important that we start rattling wins off. It seems like every other team's doing it right now so we've got to stay in the hunt."

Jeff Carter's second goal of the game for the Kings 4:03 into the third period made it 4-3. Carter shot from the right faceoff circle after a faceoff win and beat Robin Lehner high to the corner.

Eichel then set up Evander Kane for his fifth goal with 4:18 remaining and Sam Reinhart scored an empty-net goal with 26 seconds left.

"Our timing was great tonight," Sabres forward Ryan O'Reilly said. "Once we kind of got on a roll, we stayed with it. Goal after goal, you could feel the life in the building. Everything just kind of changed. We took the game over. I think that's us being mature, taking advantage of those momentum swings and finding ways to score goals."

Video: LAK@BUF: Gionta redirects Falk's shot into the twine

Anze Kopitar gave Los Angeles a 1-0 lead 3:00 into the first period and Carter made it 2-0 at 7:34 of the second.

"We're fragile. We're a fragile team," Carter said. "You get one bad bounce against you ... they've got good players over there. They're going to have shifts in our end. We get running around, we lose coverage ... we've been doing it all year. Home, away, everywhere. It's time we take a big look in the mirror here because these next six games are pretty crucial."

 

Goal of the game

O'Reilly's goal in the second period ignited a comeback for the Sabres with a highlight-quality backhand shot.

Video: LAK@BUF: O'Reilly stickhandles and buries a backhand

 
Save of the game

It may have been a tough night for Budaj but he was able to stand tall to stop Okposo on a rebound on the power play with 2:25 left in the first period.

Video: LAK@BUF: Budaj stones Okposo with nice chest stop

 
Highlight of the game

Eichel's eventual game-winning goal was the fourth of the second period for the Sabres and came with a perfect shot to the top corner of the net.

Video: LAK@BUF: Eichel goes top shelf for second of game

 
Unsung performance of the game

Okposo admitted after the game he wasn't feeling 100 percent after he missed practice Monday with the flu. He fought through it against the Kings and had three assists in 15:10 of ice time.

 

They said it

"We've got to get to work tomorrow. I'm sure there will be some video. There's lots to clean up, top to bottom all the way through. There's nothing else you can do but go to work. Good practice tomorrow, go to Detroit and get on the board here on this road trip. That's all there is to it." -- Kings center Jeff Carter

 

"You get the second, third, fourth, fifth goal and you forget about the mistake you make on the faceoff that they get their first goal on. I always think that's the case when you're getting one or less goals a game, your every mistake is magnified. We've had a few of those kerfuffles that cause goals and a game against a good team. I think you start to squeeze the stick a little bit and wonder where this is going and I think it was a credit to the guys. They took charge of the game and took the game over and erased whatever mistake there was earlier on with their play in the second and the third." -- Sabres coach Dan Bylsma

 
Need to know

The Sabres are 14-1-0-1 at home against the Kings since Dec. 17, 1993. … Kopitar's goal was his first in 17 games and 246th of his NHL career, tying him for sixth in Kings history with Wayne Gretzky. … Trevor Lewis' assist on Kopitar's goal was his 100th NHL point. … Rasmus Ristolainen has 10 points in the past seven games and seven during a four-game point streak. … Buffalo is 4-2-1 when Eichel is in the lineup this season.

 
What's next

Kings: At the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-D, FS-W, NHL.TV)

Sabres: Host the New York Islanders on Friday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, MSG+, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Eichel, Okposo lead Sabres to 6-3 win over Kings

View More

The NHL has updated its Privacy Policy effective January 16, 2020. We encourage you to review it carefully.

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.