TAMPA - Jack Eichel certainly helped make the 2018 NHL All-Star Game a memorable one.
One highlight that will be replayed over and over is the celebration concocted by Eichel and Auston Matthews during the Atlantic Division's semifinal game against the Metropolitan Division at Amalie Arena on Sunday. Matthews had had a goal disallowed on Monday in a Maple Leafs game against Colorado. So when he scored later in that game, he looked at the referee and signaled "goal" just as the official would.
Fast forward to Sunday night. Right before the faceoff following a disallowed goal by Erik Karlsson (a replay challenge deemed it offside), Matthews came up with a plan.
"He said, 'Hey, if we score here, let's both point at the net,'" Eichel, playing in his first All-Star Game, said. "…We were kind of just like, 'Oh, we better score on this shift so we can do it.' Luckily we did."
Video: MET@ATL: Eichel rips feed home, dramatically calls it
Video: EICHEL: Post All-Star Game Interview
The Sabres leading scorer also helped set up this jaw-dropping play featuring two behind-the-back passes:
That assist was one of three points that Eichel recorded on Sunday. He had a goal and two assists in that semifinal game.
Eichel was also one of the players to toss his helmet onto the ice for Nikita Kucherov's hat trick goal in the semifinal game.
While Eichel and the Atlantic All-Stars lost in the championship game to the Pacific Division 5-2, Eichel looks at the big picture of the weekend being a great way to celebrate the game and have some fun.
"I think as soon as we got out there, started playing, it was fun. They did a great job - the city of Tampa - so hats off to them and the Lightning, everyone at the NHL," he said. "It was done really right and I had a great time.
"…I don't think anything surprised me. It was awesome. It was a lot of fun. Just being here with all these guys - some I know and some I don't. The ones that I don't, just being able to build relationships with a little bit and get to know.
"I thought that was one of the best parts. Obviously, we get caught up in our game, but this is a weekend to kind of relax a bit and take a step back, and realize where you are. You're able to kind of admire all of these great players in our game."
Oh, and Sabretooth had a good weekend too.
The Sabres will be back at practice on Monday before kicking off a five-game homestand against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.