Buffalo, NY – Jack Eichel said he was tired of the moral victories. This point of the season they needed to start collecting real wins if they wanted to stay in the playoff hunt.
That’s what they did Tuesday night.
Eichel notched two big assists and Jason Pominville scored the game-winner as the Sabres upset the New York Islanders, 3-1, in front of an announced attendance of 16,894.
“I thought Linus did a good job of making the saves tonight,” said Eichel, who had his 21st multi-point game of the season.
“And our D did a good job of playing a good team game. Like I said it’s a good win for us at home.”
Not just talking the talk the Sabres captain walked the walk as he played one of his most complete games of the year.
Eichel only had one shot on net but he did all of the little things well.
Including winning a key face off in the Islanders end that set up Jeff Skinner for his 34th of the season and a 1-0 Sabre lead in the opening period.
The Sabres could have let this slip away after a Rasmus Ristolainen turnover in his own end led to a goal from Islanders fourth liner Casey Cizikas with less than 23 seconds to play in the first.
But they didn’t panic.
The Sabres stuck to their game plan. Played patient and took back the lead when Eichel set up Pominville at the 6:49 mark of the second period.
“He’s our best player and to see the kind of effort he puts in on a nightly basis, especially in a night like tonight when there’s not a lot of open space,” winger Kyle Okposo said. “He’s not making a ton of highlight reel plays because there’s not a lot of room out there. But he got two big assists and was definitely a factor in the game so that was great to see.”
Linus Ullmark, who picked up his 13th win of the season, was sharp all night. Especially in the third period when he turned away all 10 shots that he faced-most of which came during a flurry of offensive pressure by the Islanders.
“We kept it simple from the start and played very good, solid defense for 60 minutes,” Ullmark said.
| NY Isles|
Casey Mittlestadt did not play. He left the pre-game skate earlier that morning with a lower body injury.
The Sabres will host the New York Rangers on Friday with a 7:05 puck drop.