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Sabres' Eichel gets four points against Bruins

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- Buffalo Sabres rookie Jack Eichel, the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and a Chelmsford, Mass. native, had two goals and two assists in a 6-3 comeback victory against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Saturday.

Eichel, who set a single-game career high for points, tied the score 3-3 with his first goal and added an empty-net goal with 1:18 to go during a five-goal third period by Buffalo.

The Sabres (15-16-4) are 4-1-1 in their past six games.

"I was a little bit nervous jumping on the ice for warmups," said Eichel, who played at Boston University last season and won the Beanpot and Hockey East title on this ice. "But just an exciting game throughout. We made some mistakes. But at the end of the day, it's a huge win and it's a super-nice way to start this next segment of us. Just exciting to get a win and do it in the fashion that we did in front of so many friends and family."

The Sabres scored three goals during a 4:03 span of the third period after they fell behind 3-1. Ryan O'Reilly started the comeback with the first of his two goals at 10:21 of the third.

Eichel, playing at TD Garden for the first time as a professional, tied the game 3-3 with a fortunate bounce. He dangled in the right circle and waited for Boston goaltender Jonas Gustavsson to challenge. Eichel then banked the puck off defenseman Kevan Miller and in at 11:00 for his first goal in eight games.

Jamie McGinn put Buffalo ahead 4-3 at 14:24 when he backhanded a rebound of an O'Reilly shot into the net. After Eichel's empty-net goal, O'Reilly scored his second goal with 50 seconds remaining.

Matt Beleskey, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci scored for Boston (19-11-4), which has lost two in a row in regulation. Gustavsson made 23 saves.

"It was a very poor effort by us, especially in the third period," Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. "We had that game wrapped up and should've played a lot tighter than we did when we got that 3-1 lead. We definitely blew it there, we know that. But we have to learn from this and be better [Sunday]."

The Sabres scored first at 5:13 of the second period. Beleskey's clearing pass was blocked by Eichel and then Zdeno Chara's attempt to clear the puck was intercepted by Tyler Ennis. The Sabres forward landed a shot on Gustavsson and Evander Kane tapped the puck in on the rebound for a 1-0 lead

It took the Bruins 36 seconds to answer. After Loui Eriksson stripped the puck from Kane high in the Buffalo zone, Miller took a shot from the top of the left circle. Beleskey tipped it through Chad Johnson's five-hole at 5:49 to tie the score 1-1.

Bergeron gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead on the rush 1:16 after Beleskey's goal. Marchand set up Bergeron cutting to the net for a wrist shot that beat Johnson at 7:05.

Krejci extended the Bruins' lead to 3-1 at 6:59 of the third period. Krejci took two shots that Johnson saved before the Boston center batted the second rebound out of the air and into the net with a backhand swing. The Sabres soon stole the momentum.

"Yeah you go down two goals in the third period, they're a real good team and they protect their leads well," Eichel said. "So it's a huge goal by us by [O'Reilly] then we're able to get another one and tie it up and then Jamie gets a huge goal on the forecheck and that's something that we've worked a lot on. So it's nice to see it pay off. And it's nice to see us be able to get over that hump and that's what good teams do so that's what we're going to do down the stretch."

The Bruins played the second and third periods without defenseman Torey Krug, who left with an injury after five shifts in the first period. His status Sunday against the Ottawa Senators is unknown.

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