Hurricanes defeat Sabres 5-4 in overtime

Jack Eichel's hat-trick sparked Buffalo's third period comeback

Pat Malacaro
December 15, 2017 - 7:07 pm

Photo: Kevin Hoffman - USA TODAY Sports


Jack Eichel's first career hat trick was not enough. The Carolina Hurricanes were able to salvage a 5-4 overtime win over the Sabres on Friday night at KeyBank Center, after giving up a two-goal lead in the third period.

First Period:

15:46 - Jack Eichel tries to make his presence known by making thr Carolina defense look slow and old, skating circles around them. He made a nice pass into the slot, but Jason Pominville could not bury the chance. There were a handful of bodies that made the chance difficult. Good chance right away against a team that has left a lot wanting from their blue line.

12:09 - Kyle Okposo took the first penalty of the night when he was called for hooking. He hauled down Jordan Staal in the defensive zone. However, the blue and gold did a great job of penalty killing, not even giving up a scoring chance. The Hurricanes have five shots on goal, but Chad Johnson has not been overly tested with any of them.

6:36 - Just one shot on goal for the Sabres during their power play with Justin Faulk in the box. Would have liked to see a little more puck movement and shots towards the net. However, I have to give the Hurricanes credit for a few blocked shots and clogged shooting lanes. Hudson Fasching is back in the lineup tonight and was doing a good job of standing in front of the net and making life difficult for Cam Ward in his crease.

3:40 - Buffalo heads back to the power play after Brock McGinn crashed into Johnson in the blue ice. Zach Bogosian and Nathan Beaulieu both went right at the two Carolina players that were around the crease. We have said far too many times that the Sabres do not protect one another, that was not one of those instances. This team certainly stands up for one another when needed.

End of Period

Goal Summary:


Penalty Summary:

BUF: 5:50 - Kyle Okposo (2 min., hooking). 19:15 - Zemgus Girgensons (2 min., hooking). 20:00 - Nathan Beaulieu (2 min., slashing)
CAR: 11:24 - Justin Faulk (2 min., hooking). 16:20 - Brock McGinn (2 min., goaltender interference). 19:15 - Jeff Skinner (2 min., embellishment)

Shots on Goal:

BUF - 12, CAR - 7


Second Period:

18:26 - Excellent shift by Johan Larsson on the 4-on-3 penalty kill to start the middle frame. The forward had two "big boy" blocks. By that, I mean he put his entire body in front of a couple of big slap shots from the point. Those were key, as was his clearing the puck on the PK to help melt time away on the penalty. Nice shift for "Larry."

11:03 - Buffalo has had the better puck possession and zone time this period, since their penalties expired. I have liked the way they have moved the puck, but at some point it needs to result in a goal. So far it has really been a ho-hum game. Shots on goal are 8-6, I do not think that paints the picture of the period.

9:44 - HURRICANES GOAL. A miscue by the Buffalo defense results in the first goal of the game. Marco Scandella and Rasmus Ristolainen decide to take the same man in front of the net, and Justin Williams is allowed to break free and slam home a rebound chance into a wide open net. Chad Johnson had no chance after making the initial save. Sabres fans will remember Williams for his playoff heroics. Not just against the blue and gold, but around the league. It seems like no matter where he goes, the Stanley Cup Final follows him. 1-0 CAR.

9:14 - SABRES GOAL. It was Buffalo's turn to have a forward break away from the defense and spring himself for a goal. Jack Eichel got away from Jordan Staal and chipped home a back hand chance with Cam Ward trying to get from once side of his net to the other. Credit the team with doing a good job of creating the offense with a shot from the point, right into a crowd of people in front of the net and the puck went to Eichel for the chance. 1-1 tie.

2:39 - The score might be 1-1 this period, but I feel like this is the best Buffalo has looked in maybe the last two games. They are skating hard, creating chances, and keeping good position in front of their goaltender for the most part. Besides the Carolina goal, I have liked everything about this frame for Buffalo.

End of Period

Goal Summary:

BUF: 10:46 - Jack Eichel (9) (Evander Kane, Jake McCabe)
CAR: 10:16 - Justin Williams (7) (Brock McGinn, Jordan Staal)

Penalty Summary:


Shots on Goal:

BUF - 14 (26), CAR - 15 (22)


Third Period:

18:40 - SABRES GOAL. Jake McCabe gives the Sabres their first lead of the night after another good hustle play by Jack Eichel creates the chance. He picked up the puck in the neutral zone and was able to guide it back into the zone. The only question was whether or not Evander Kane interfered with Cam Ward and did not allow him to make a save. After a coach's challenge the call on the ice stood as a "good goal." 2-1 BUF.

17:00 - HURRICANES GOAL. An unlcucky break goes against the blue and gold as a shot from the point is deflected right to Jordan Staal. The Carolina forward uses good hand-eye coordination to bat the puck out of the air and into the net to re-tie the game. Tough break for Buffalo after they had just taken the lead. 2-2 tie.

15:57 - HURRICANES GOAL. Another bad bounce for Buffalo and this game is back to a one goal advantage for the visitors. Evander Kane went to the bench for a new stick after breaking his down around the goal line, and it created just enough space for Carolina to unload a shot from the point that was re-directed by Derek Ryan into the net. What was a one goal lead now turned into a one goal deficit in a matter of moments here. 3-2 CAR.

13:03 - HURRICANES GOAL. Another clunker is brewing for Chad Johnson. The netminder was out of position and could not recover in time as Elias Lindholm buries the Derek Ryan pass from across the ice. This game keeps getting worse for the blue and gold, who showed promise for much of the night. 4-2 CAR.

10:36 - SABRES GOAL. Jack Eichel tries to put the team on his back with his second goal of the night on a low rising shot along the ice through traffic. Kyle Okposo did a good job of getting in front of the net and bringing a defender with him. That is a goal by a leader, who needed to step up. 4-3 CAR.

10:26 - SABRES GOAL. The first career hat trick for Jack Eichel has torn the lid off of KeyBank Center. It was just ten seconds between goals, and once again he has put the team on his back. How long have we talked about this team needing a player who wants the puck on his stick in big situations. At least tonight, that person is Eichel. 4-4 tie.

5:15 - This place is electric now with the fans that braved the elements to be here tonight. Eichel single handedly changed the course of this game in a ten second span. What he did was impressive, it would be a shame to waste it.

End of Regulation

Goal Summary:

BUF: 1:20 - Jake McCabe (2) (Evander Kane, Jack Eichel). 9:24 - Jack Eichel (10) (Jake McCabe, Kyle Okposo). 9:34 - Jack Eichel (11) (Evander Kane)
CAR: 3:00 - Jordan Staal (8) (Jaccob Slavin, Justin Williams). 4:03 - Derek Ryan (6) (Brett Pesce). 6:57 - Elias Lindholm (9) (Derek Ryan, Sebastian Aho)

Penalty Summary:


Shots on Goal:

BUF - 13 (39), CAR - 9 (31)



2:45 - HURRICANES GOAL. An opportunity wasted by the blue and gold as Evander Kane could not find a handle on the puck on a breakaway at one end, and Jaccob Slavin buries a slap shot from the slot into the top corner of the net and take the air out of KeyBank Center in overtime. 5-4 CAR.

End of Game
Carolina 5, Buffalo 4 FINAL/OT

Goal Summary:

CAR: 2:15 - Jaccob Slavin (3) (Elias Lindholm, Sebastian Aho)

Power Plays:

BUF: 0 for 2 (0%)
CAR: 0 for 2 (0%)


BUF: Chad Johnson - 29 saves
CAR: Cam Ward - 37 saves

Three Stars:

  1. Jack Eichel - BUF
  2. Jake McCabe - BUF
  3. Jaccob Slavin - CAR

What's Next:

The Sabres have a couple days to rest up before welcoming the Boston Bruins to KeyBank Center on Tuesday. The game will be shown on the NBC Sports Network at 7:30 p.m., meaning the only place to hear the hometown broadcast is on the flagship home of the Sabres, WGR Sports Radio 550. Mike Schopp hosts pregame from (716) Food and Sport starting at 6:30 p.m..

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