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game recap

Jack Eichel scores twice to give Sabres win

Center gets two in third period to defeat Rangers in home debut

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Jack Eichel scored twice in the third period to give the Buffalo Sabres a 4-3 win against the New York Rangers at KeyBank Center on Thursday.

Eichel gave the Sabres a 4-3 lead when he sent the puck out of the corner and it bounced off Mats Zuccarello and past Henrik Lundqvist (30 saves) with 5:32 left in the third period.

"It's kind of hectic down there and [you] just try to find a soft spot and [Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh] makes a great play," Eichel said. "I knew that Lundqvist got over, so I was trying to hit [Evander Kane] coming back through and luckily I got a nice bounce; kind of rewarding."

 

WATCH: All Rangers vs. Sabres highlights

 

Eichel's first goal tied the game 3-3 and came on the power play 1:43 before his game-winner. He received a pass from Kyle Okposo and skated up the right wing where he took a wrist shot that beat Lundqvist low to the far side.

"[Eichel] just froze me, looked like he was going to pass it," Lundqvist said. "It's a hard shot, but you need to stop it. I need to challenge that more. I was expecting a pass. I was already thinking what's going to happen next and instead he goes for the shot. You know, that's what good players do. They read from what I'm doing there and obviously I need to challenge him more there."

Eichel made his home debut against the Rangers. He had a goal and an assist when he returned to the lineup Tuesday in a 5-4 win against the Ottawa Senators after he missed 21 games with a high ankle sprain.

"Did I anticipate a two-goal game type of bump? No," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "It just kind of shows what kind of player he can be, what kind of player he is. He's a dynamic player and he brings so much to our team in speed and attack. Everyone feeds off it … it has carried over to other players."

Video: NYR@BUF: Eichel puts Sabres ahead with slick moves

The Sabres (9-9-5) have won two straight games. The Rangers (16-8-1) have lost two of the past three games.

Marc Staal's second goal of the season gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead with 8:18 left in the second period. Staal received a pass from Jesper Fast and took a shot that beat Anders Nilsson (22 saves) over the shoulder.

Johan Larsson scored his fourth goal 18 seconds into the first period to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead.

Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh's first of the season made it 1-1 with 3:45 left in the first.

Rick Nash gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead 8:15 into the second period with a power-play goal. Nash put a rebound of a shot by Adam Clendening that was deflected by Jimmy Vesey through Nilsson's legs for his 11th goal. It was Nash's fourth in the past six games.

Sabres captain Brian Gionta made it 2-2 at 9:48 of the second with his fifth goal. Gionta tapped a pass from behind the net from Marcus Foligno past Lundqvist. Foligno's assist was his 100th NHL point.

Video: NYR@BUF: Nash jams rebound past Nilsson for PPG

 

Goal of the game

Eichel's first goal came on a rush up ice in which he took a quick shot that hit off the inside of Lundqvist's arm and into the net.

Video: NYR@BUF: Eichel buries a nifty PPG from the circle

 

Save of the game

Nilsson came up with a big save against Michael Grabner on a breakaway with 9:57 left in the third period. At the time, the Rangers had a 3-2 lead and Nilsson's save kept the Sabres in the game.

Video: NYR@BUF: Nilsson rejects Grabner's attempt in close

 

Highlight of the game

Larsson's first-period goal is one Lundqvist wants back. Jake McCabe's dump into the zone glanced off Larsson's skate and past the Rangers goalie.

Video: NYR@BUF: Larsson nets long deflection 18 seconds in

 
Unsung moment of the game

Late in the third period with the Sabres holding a 4-3 lead, Eichel helped ease late pressure by the Rangers when he chipped the puck out of the zone near the bench and helped prevent New York from establishing its offense.

 

They said it

"Any time you have a lead there you don't want to give it up and that's uncharacteristic for us. We've got to learn from it and make sure we play all the way to the end and make sure that we realize that we need everybody here on the top of their game and not just a few guys carrying us." -- Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh

 

Video: NYR@BUF: McDonagh rips a shot past Nilsson for PPG

 

"[Eichel]'s a difference-maker. He can open up a game at any time… He's feared out there. He's a threat every time he's on the ice. You have to be aware of him. Other teams have to be aware of him, and it gets them back on their heels." -- Sabres captain Brian Gionta

 

Video: NYR@BUF: Gionta scores on Foligno's nifty dish

 

Need to know

This was the Rangers first loss when leading after two periods this season (13-1-0). … Eichel has points in seven straight games dating back to last season and he has 12 points in his last nine home games. … Rasmus Ristolainen leads the NHL with 10 power-play assists.

 

What's next

Rangers: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; MSG, FS-CR, NHL.TV)

Sabres: Host the Boston Bruins on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; SN, MSG-B, NESN, NHL.TV) 

 

Video: Eichel powers Sabres to 4-3 comeback win in Buffalo

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