Eichel plays hero in 5-4 preseason win over Penguins

The Sabres come away with a victory despite blowing a three-goal lead in the third period

Kyle Powell
September 16, 2019 - 6:58 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports


The Buffalo Sabres kicked off their preseason schedule on Monday night with a 5-4 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Happy Valley at Penn State University.

Buffalo took shots early and often, and were able to come away with the victory despite conceding a three-goal lead in the third period. Sabres captain Jack Eichel ended things with eight-seconds to go in the overtime period.

The Penguins got on the board first as Andrew Agozzino snuck a puck past Sabres starting netminder Carter Hutton less than five minutes into the first period.

Buffalo responded very well, though, and answered back with the game-tying goal just over a minute later. Defenseman John Gilmour potted his first goal of the preseason to make it 1-1 as he jumped up in the rush and used his speed to blow by the Pittsburgh defense. The Sabres continued to go to work all period long, firing shot after shot at Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith.

One of their final shots of the period gave the blue and gold their first lead of the night, as former Penguins forward Conor Sheary found himself alone on goal and tallied a goal just ahead of the final minute of the opening period.

Buffalo eventually broke for the first intermission leading 2-1, and out-shooting the Penguins 18-2 through the opening 20 minutes.

The first half of the second period saw no changes on the scoreboard.

Hutton saw just one more shot against him before head coaches Ralph Krueger and Mike Sullivan opted to make goalie changes for sake of preseason work. Jonas Johansson entered for the Sabres, while Tristan Jarry skated onto the ice for the Penguins. Johansson was immediately tested and made a flurry of saves just moments after he entered the game, and did not waiver as he kept pucks out of his net.

Buffalo added to their lead at the11:40 mark, just a little over a minute after Jarry entered the net for the visitors. Newly-acquired defenseman Henri Jokiharju scored to make it a 3-1 score just inside the top of the faceoff circle to the right of Jarry. Then, with just under four minutes to play in the second, Tage Thompson  gave the Sabres a 4-1 lead with a power play goal off a rebound in front of the Pittsburgh net.

Despite being out-shot 37-9 through two periods, and eventually 45-13 in regulation, Pittsburgh did not roll over in the third as they rallied for three unanswered goals on four third-period shots to force overtime. Sam Lafferty, Adam Johnson and Ryan Haggerty all scored goals against Johansson in succession in the final period of regulation as the Sabres suddenly had no answer to the Penguins' push.

The teams traded chances in overtime, but the game-winning goal eventually came from Eichel on a breakaway after Sheary made a nice play to knock down a puck at the Buffalo blue line and spring Eichel for the goal.




Goal Summary:

First Period:

BUF: 5:44 - John Gilmour (1) (Jimmy Vesey, Jack Eichel); 18:47 - Conor Sheary (1) (Rasmus Dahlin)
PIT: 4:34 - Andrew Agozzino (1) (Nathan Legare)

Second Period:

BUF: 11:40 - Henri Jokiharju (1) (Conor Sheary, John Gilmour); 15:58 - Tage Thompson (1) PPG (Rasmus Dahlin, Jeff Skinner)

Third Period:

PIT: 0:51 - Sam Lafferty (1) (John Marino); 6:24 - Adam Johnson (1) (Unassisted); 8:46 - Ryan Haggerty (1) (Jack Johnson, Dominik Simon)


BUF: 4:52 - Jack Eichel (1) (Conor Sheary)


Penalty Summary:

First Period:

​PIT: 11:45 - Jack Johnson (Holding - 2 min.)

Second Period:

BUF: 1:58 - Andrew Oglevie (Interference - 2 min.); 7:29 - Colin Miller (Holding - 2 min.); 10:37 - Rasmus Dahlin (Tripping - 2 min.)
PIT: 10:20 - Chad Ruhwedel (Hooking - 2 min.); 15:06 - Samuel Poulin (Hooking - 2 min.); 16:53 - Juuso Riikola (Illegal check to the head - 2 min.)

Third Period:




Shots on Goal:

BUF: 47 (18, 19, 8, 2)
PIT: 18 (2, 7, 4, 5)


BUF: Carter Hutton - 2 saves; Jonas Johansson - 12 saves
PIT: Casey DeSmith - 23 saves; Tristan Jarry - 19 saves

Power Plays:

BUF: 1 for 4 (25%)
PIT: 0 for 3 (0%)


What's next:

The Sabres get right back on the ice on Tuesday night for their second preseason game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m with pre-game coverage starting at 6:45 p.m. on WGR with Brian Koziol and Paul Hamilton.

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