– Jack Eichel
and Sam Reinhart
were roommates at Buffalo Sabres Development Camp in July. Eichel was new to the team after being taken with the second-overall pick in the 2015 Draft; Reinhart was taken in the same spot one year earlier.
As it turns out, the week they spent together in July was only the beginning of what’s become a fast-growing relationship. Now both regular contributors to the Sabres offense, the two rookies have become roommates on the road and even plan on taking it a step further in the future.
“I already talked with him and hopefully we’re living together in the future so the friendship has grown for sure,” Reinhart said.
“We’ve developed a good friendship so far,” Eichel added. “[We’re] pretty similar people so it’s fun hanging out with him and spending a lot of time with him, especially on the road. It’s nice.”
On Tuesday in Philadelphia, Eichel and Reinhart will have the chance to spend a lot time on the ice together too.
The pair will take the ice as linemates alongside Johan Larsson when the Sabres face the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center in the first leg of a two-game road trip. Pregame coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Tops Sabres Gamenight on MSG-B and Bell TV. The game can also be heard on WGR 550 with puck drop set for 7 p.m.
While Eichel and Reinhart have spent shifts together throughout the season, Tuesday marks the first time in their careers that they’ll begin the game as linemates. In the time they have spent together on the ice, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma has seen enough to believe that they’ll be able to complement each other well.
“Sam’s really the guy that has benefitted from it the most and complimented Jack in some ways the best in terms of his smartness, his hockey sense, going to areas and also getting him the puck,” Bylsma said. “Jack’s a skater with the puck and he needs to get it in certain spots to be effective in that regard and Sam’s been the best in some terms at getting him the puck in those areas.”
Reinhart, who’s also played with another quick player in Tyler Ennis, agrees that his game benefits from sharing the ice with Eichel.
“I think when I play with faster players it forces me to play fast and that’s when I’m at my best,” he said.
Their friendship off the ice can’t hurt either, whether it’s on Tuesday or beyond. No two players figure to be more important to the future of the organization than Eichel and Reinhart. For that reason, Bylsma was glad when he began to see their relationship beginning to develop over the summer.
“It’s interesting, a little bit two different mentalities, two different personality types, but guys that right now are going to grow up and be a big part of our organization,” Bylsma said. “That relationship is going to be one for a long time and it’s just starting to grow and foster right now. They’re young kids but … they’re going to be leaders for this team on and off the ice.”
SCOUTING THE FLYERS
The Sabres will face a streaking team for the third game in a row in the Flyers, who are winners of two straight. The Flyers beat the Bruins 2-1 in overtime on Wednesday and defeated the New York Rangers 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday.
Philadelphia, at 4-2-1 on the season, leads the League with a 35.1 shots-per-game average and should serve as a test for a Sabres team that has only allowed an average of 25.8 shots per game. Forward Wayne Simmonds (1G+4A) and defenseman Mark Streit (2+3) lead the Flyers with five points each while centerman Claude Giroux has scored a team-high three goals.
The Flyers will be without forward Sean Couturier for the second-straight game. Couturier sustained a concussion against Boston on Wednesday.
Steve Mason will get the nod in net for Philadelphia. Since allowing four goals on eight opportunities against the Florida Panthers on Oct. 10, Mason is 2-1-0 with a 2.16 goals allowed average and a .933 save percentage. Former Sabres goaltender and current Flyer Michal Neuvirth is currently listed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.
Former Sabres and Flyers forward Daniel Briere, who retired in the offeseason, will be honored prior to the game Tuesday night. Briere recorded 307 goals and 389 assists for 696 points in 18 seasons with Phoenix, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Montreal and Colorado.
Briere also made a name for himself as a key performer in the playoffs over his career, amassing 116 points (53+63) in 124 postseason games. He enjoyed a career year with the Sabres in 2006-07 when he scored 95 points (32+63) as co-captain of the team that won the Presidents’ Trophy.
44 Nicolas Deslauriers – 90 Ryan O'Reilly – 63 Tyler Ennis
22 Johan Larsson – 15 Jack Eichel – 23 Sam Reinhart
26 Matt Moulson – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 12 Brian Gionta
82 Marcus Foligno – 17 David Legwand – 88 Jamie McGinn
4 Josh Gorges – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
29 Jake McCabe – 3 Mark Pysyk
25 Carlo Colaiacovo – 46 Cody Franson
31 Chad Johnson
35 Linus Ullmark