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Tracking the Sabres at the IIHF World Championship

Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart are representing their countries in Slovakia

by Jourdon LaBarber and Chris Ryndak @BuffaloSabres / Sabres.com

For hockey fans in Buffalo, the rivalry between the United States and Canada just got a bit more interesting. 

Team USA plays Canada on Tuesday, May 21 in what will be both teams' final game of the preliminary round at the 2019 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia. Jack Eichel will be wearing the red, white and blue. Sam Reinhart and Brandon Montour are both playing for Team Canada, which is being managed by Jason Botterill. 

Montour sustained a lower-body injury during Canada's preliminary-round game against Slovakia on May 13, ending his tournament. He returned to Buffalo for further evaluation. Botterill said it doesn't appear to be an injury that will keep him out long term, but a better assement will be made in the coming days. 

Bookmark this page for a running blog to be updated throughout the tournament, complete with highlights and results from the three participating Sabres. 

 

Team USA's schedule

Friday, May 10: United States 1 - Slovakia 4
Eichel recorded the secondary assist on Alex DeBrincat's first-period power-play goal. He started the game centering a line with Chris Kreider and Clayton Keller. Matus Sukel, Eric Cernak, Tomas Tatar, and Michal Kristof lit the lamp for the host country.

Sunday, May 12: United States 7 - France 1
Eichel picked up another assist in the blowout victory. He had the primary helper on Frank Vatrano's first-period tally. Eichel registered four shots on goal in 13:22 of action - only Patrick Kane had more shots in the game with six. Team USA outshot France 42-24. DeBrincat and Colin White each scored twice while Kane, Vatrano and Kreider also scored. Six players had multi-point outings.

Monday, May 13: United States 3 - Finland 2 (OT)
Eichel notched a pair of assists in the first period and Dylan Larkin scored the game winner 3:47 into overtime to lift the U.S. over Finland. 

Eichel had the secondary assist on Brady Skjei's opening goal and the primalry helper on Johnny Gaudreau's marker that made it 2-0. Eichel was a plus-3 with two shots in 18:52 of ice time.

Tweet from @usahockey: Big win. #MensWorldsCheck out the highlights ������ pic.twitter.com/pmAQNR20uP

Wednesday, May 15: United States 6 - Great Britain 3
On the day the Sabres hired a new head coach in Ralph Krueger (a former executive in the English Premier League), the team's captain recorded an assist on Kreider's second-period goal in Team USA's 6-3 win over Team Britain. Eichel also recorded four shots in 20:18 in a game in which the Americans outshot Britain 65-26. Kane led Team USA with a goal and two assists.

Tweet from @usahockey: The highlights from #TeamUSA's win over Great Britain today. #MensWorlds Game recap ��� https://t.co/8UzkM61fRCpic.twitter.com/pDZZ6UHuiu

Saturday, May 18: United States 7 - Denmark 1 

Eichel buried a shot from the left faceoff circle for his first goal of the tournament, which capped the scoring in Team USA's blowout win. Take a look:

Eichel also tallied the secondary assist on Chris Kreider's goal in the first period, bringing his point total to seven (1+6) in five games. Team USA ranks fourth in the Group A standings with 11 points, five ahead of fifth-place Slovakia. 

Sunday, May 19: United States 3 - Germany 1

Eichel tallied his second goal in as many games to cap the victory, which clinched a spot in the quarterfinal round for Team USA. The marker once again found Eichel shooting from the left circle, this time off a cross-ice feed from Patrick Kane. 

Tweet from @antonj85: Jack Eichel 3-1 m��l f��r USA mot Tyskland. #IIHFWorlds pic.twitter.com/WyobfWFL4w

Eichel finished the game with five shots in 19:40. His eight points (2+6) in six games are tied for second on Team USA. 
 

Next game: Tuesday, May 21 vs. Canada - 2:15 p.m.

 

Team Canada's schedule

Friday, May 10: Canada 1 - Finland 3 
Reinhart skated on the right wing with Adam Henrique and Sean Couturier while Montour was paired with Thomas Chabot in the opening day loss. Top draft prospect Kaapo Kakko scored twice for Finland and Arttu Ilomaki added another. Jonathan Marschessault scored Canada's lone goal.

Sunday, May 12: Canada 8 - Great Britain 0
Team Canada bounced back from Friday's loss in a big way as they trounced Great Britian 8-0. Anthony Mantha led the way with five points (2+3) as Canada held a 56-12 edge in shots on goal. Montour skated 16:58 and was a plus-3 with one shot while Reinhart posted three shots in 14:50 of ice time.

Monday, May 13: Canada 6 - Slovakia 5
Reinhart recorded his first point of the tournament when he assisted on Anothny Cirelli's goal that made it 4-4 in the second period. Brandon Montour left the game with an undisclosed injury. Mark Stone scored the game-winning goal with just 1.8 seconds remaining in regulation.

Tweet from @HC_Men: OFFICIAL STATEMENT | Brandon Montour to miss remainder of #IIHFWorlds, per Team Canada management group.📃 - https://t.co/yXiE3P0Eh1

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: Botterill on Brandon Montour���s injury at #IIHFWorlds: ���He���s on his way back to Buffalo right now and will see our doctors. We don���t believe it���s long-term, but it���s something we can give you a more accurate description on next week.��� pic.twitter.com/Ie2VCjF3Vb

Thursday, May 16: Canada 5 - France 2
Reinhart posted one assist and a team-high seven shots on goal in the victory. Reinhart's play behind the net helped set up Anthony Cirelli to make it 3-0. Canada now has nine points in the tournament, three points behind Group A leader Germany. 

Tweet from @TSN_Sports: 🇨 SCORES!@HC_Men works it down low, as Sean Couturier (@NHLFlyers) finds Anthony Cirelli (@TBLightning) with a pretty back pass, who tucks it in short side.3-0 🇨 | #IIHFWorlds pic.twitter.com/VP52ccM6vV

Saturday, May 18: Canada 8 - Germany 1

Reinhart followed in Eichel's footsteps, tallying his first goal of the tournament off a rebound in the slot in the third period:

Reinhart now has three points (1+2) in five games. The win moved the Canadians into second place in the Group A standings with 12 points. 

Monday, May 20: Canada 5 - Denmark 0

Reinhart tallied a pair of goals in Canada's victory, giving him three in his last two games. His first came on a power play in the second period, when he drove past a pair of defenders and buried a wrist shot from the right circle. 

Tweet from @HC_Men: ���Excuse me, coming through.��� - Sam Reinhart, probably. pic.twitter.com/BOoIbCc1Rq

He added another goal in the third period, a high deflection of a point shot from Philippe Myers. 

Tweet from @StevenEllisTHN: Sam Reinhart may have his second, but for the third time, there's video review for this one. If it counts, 5-0. #IIHFworlds pic.twitter.com/0WAekdmOW8

Reinhart's point total is up to five (3+2) in six games. 
 

Next game: Tuesday, May 21 vs. United States - 2:15 p.m.

 

Exhibtion games

Team USA

Eichel centered the top line alongside Clayton Keller and Patrick Kane in Team USA's 5-2 exhibition win over Germany on Tuesday, producing one of the game's highlight-reel moments with an assist to Keller off a draw in the offensive zone.

Tweet from @usahockey: 2-2 after two. #MensWorlds@ClaytonKeller37 tied things up off this feed from @Jackeichel15 7:02 into the middle frame. #TeamUSA pic.twitter.com/by58Ecwxy0

It's been two years since Eichel last played at Worlds, and he's grown considerably in the meantime. He's coming off a career year in which he set personal-best totals in goals (28), assists (54) and multi-point outings (27) while continuing to take his 200-foot game to new heights. 

This tournament will serve as a chance to stand out on a stage with some of the world's best players. In addition to Kane and Keller, Team USA's forward group also includes NHL All-Stars in Dylan Larkin and Johnny Gaudreau as well as this summer's likely No. 1 pick in center Jack Hughes. 

 

Team Canada

Reinhart was used sparingly when he represented Canada at Worlds in 2016. He was coming off his rookie year in the NHL, a young player on a star-laden roster that went on to win a gold medal. 

He, like Eichel, enters this year's tournament coming off a campaign in which he set career-best marks in several catergories, including assists (43), points (65) and even-strength goals (20). He spent Canada's exhibition win over Austria on Tuesday skating on the second line alongside Adam Henrique and Sean Couturier. 

Montour tallied an assist in that game while manning the top defense pair alongside Thomas Chabot. He's coming off an impressive stint with the Sabres in which he tallied 10 points (3+7) in 20 games after being acquired prior to the trade deadline.

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