UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - Success on special teams helped the Buffalo Sabres earn a point against a tough opponent Saturday afternoon.
The Sabres' power play went 2-for-2 and the penalty kill didn't allow a goal on four New York Islanders' opportunities with the man advantage in their 3-2 overtime loss at NYCB Live.
With a flair for the dramatic, Jack Eichel tied the game with 1:56 remaining in regulation, not only on the power play, but also with the Sabres net empty.
Eichel finished the game with a goal and an assist. Victor Olofsson also scored for Buffalo, while Linus Ullmark made 21 saves. Anthony Beauvillier scored the overtime-winning goal for New York at the 3:04 mark.
"I thought we competed our hearts out. I thought we played really well," Eichel said. "Penalty kill was great, special teams was good for us, power play stepped up twice and Linus made some great saves. I thought we just competed hard.
"That's a really, really good hockey team. It's unfortunate - a tough turnover by me in the overtime there and they obviously capitalized. It's frustrating not to get two points. I thought we worked really hard tonight."
Buffalo now has points in five-straight games.
Video: BUF Recap: Eichel extends point streak in 3-2 OT loss
Another game, another point for Eichel. The Sabres captain extended his NHL-best point streak to 16 games, and now only Dave Andreychuk (2x) and Gilbert Perreault have recorded longer streaks for the Sabres.
Eichel is two games shy of Perreault's franchise-best 18-game streak, set in 1971-72.
He has 15 goals and 29 points during the streak which began on Nov. 16.
Dahlin re-establishing himself on the point
Rasmus Dahlin returned to the lineup on Thursday after missing the previous eight games due to a concussion. On Saturday, we he skated 24:02 and added an assist. He was also a key figure on the Sabres power play, running the point and keeping the puck moving.
He recorded the primary assist on Olofsson's one-time shot that beat Semyon Varlamov…
Video: BUF@NYI: Olofsson hammers blast to tie it on the PP
And then worked with Jack Eichel up top late in the game to help set up Buffalo's second goal…
Video: BUF@NYI: Eichel scores PPG to tie it late in the 3rd
He also got into it late with Mathew Barzal in helping shut down the Islanders attack.
"It's great to see him back. It looks like he's finding his groove again. You see him moving around there and making plays," Eichel said. "A player like Ras, he's going to attract just so much attention from the other team as a defenseman who has the puck on his stick for a lot of the game, he does a great job of handling it and moving the puck. He's got some grit in his game and it's good to see."
Video: POSTGAME: Dahlin
Video: POSTGAME: Krueger
The last time the Sabres played the Islanders, it was back on Nov. 2 and New York came away with a 1-0 win at KeyBank Center.
The Sabres feel like they have matured as a team since then and it helped them in their execution on Saturday.
"We were really persistent in the way we put the puck under pressure and we were disciplined through the neutral zone and getting it in behind them, behind their pressure. They like to catch you in the neutral zone," Krueger said.
"I thought our management of the puck was really strong and then the forecheck sustained so many long shifts where we, again, just couldn't get the fruits out of that labor. This is an encouraging game overall for us. We stay on topic, we stay on game plan, and we've got points in our game every night if we can do that.
Video: POSTGAME: Eichel
Eichel sees Saturday's game as a good step forward as well.
"Even the first game, we lose 1-0 and I thought we had a lot of good chances," Eichel said. "In the month-and-a-half it's been since we played them last, we've taken a lot of steps as a group. We're starting to form our identity each and every game."
Saturday's game wrapped up a stretch of six games over days for the Sabres. It included a three-game road trip through Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton, a pair of home games against St. Louis and Nashville, and today's match against the Islanders.
Buffalo went 3-1-2 in those games, collecting eight out of 12 possible points.
"It was a big task in a very short period of time where the guys have shown energy right to the end and really just played a consistent game irrelevant of scores," Krueger said. "You can see the maturity of the group is evolving in a way we can take a lot of confidence out of this week."
Things don't get much easier with a two-game road trip against Toronto and Philadelphia coming up next week.
Buffalo's next home game will be against the Los Angeels Kings on Saturday, Dec. 21 at KeyBank Center. Faceoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.