Sabres head to Penn State with Eichel playing

Forward Zemgus Girgensons has had a very good start to camp

Paul Hamilton
September 19, 2017 - 11:51 am
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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - The Sabres will head to Penn State tonight with only two players that played Monday against Carolina. Justin Bailey and Seth Griffith are back for the game against the Penguins. Bailey seemed to play much better in the third period on Monday than the first two. Phil Housley said, "This is an important time for those players and yes, he's got to use his speed and physicality. I think he can be the first on the forecheck."

"I think all as a group we can be more physical, especially getting out on the forecheck and just to keep their D honest, but he's got to use his speed."

Housley said there were reasons why Bailey's game was better in the final 20 minutes, "The one thing that I really liked in the third period was his tracking. He had a great track back and disrupted a play at our blue line and that's what his speed can do, not only offensively, but defensively."

Tonight will be Jack Eichel’s first appearance this season as he’ll center Evander Kane and Jason Pominville.

Chad Johnson gets the call in goal.


The other lines will be:

Moulson - Larsson - Fasching

Griffith - Josefson - Baptisite

Deslauriers - Porter - Bailey
 

Gorges - Tennyson

Beaulieu - Bogosian

Falk - Antipin
 

Johnson

Wilcox

 

The team held a scrimmage for the players not in the game and Gold won 4-2. Zemgus Girgensons has had a great camp so far and kept it going scoring a goal and an assist in the 4-on-4 format.

Girgensons was also one of Buffalo’s best players in the game against Carolina. He and Kyle Okposo were always quick in on the forecheck and he set up Ryan O’Reilly for three pointblank chances.

Phil Housley is getting a look at different combinations and says he will change things up throughout the preseason. Girgensons has started with O’Reilly and Okposo and that line has been the best in almost every practice. Girgensons said, “I think we’ve done a great job, I don’t think anyone on the team would complain playing with those two guys. They’re top guys and to get the opportunity to play there is nice and I think I’ve done a pretty good job so far.”

Phil Housley wants fast and has kept practices at a high pace. Girgensons loves what he’s seen so far, “The practices are awesome, they’re compact, hard, everyone is working, there’s no messing around and that’s how it should be, it’s game like and game pace.”

Girgensons played 146 games under Dan Bylsma and only scored 14 goals and 34 points. He and the coach were never on the same page and at 23, I think his fifth season in the NHL is going to be a big one for him, “It’s a big thing, it’s new coaches, new management, so I think it’s a fresh start for everyone, You can’t come in thinking that you have a spot, you have to prove it in the practices and off the ice, so I think it’s good for everyone.”

Girgensons also realizes he needs to produce more too, “Definitely put up more offensive points that’s the main thing, but I think the overall game, just be that hardworking player, that good D-zone player and then chip in on offense when I can.”

One thing that lacked in the past few years is communication between the coaching staff and players. That’s changing under Housley and Girgensons likes the idea, “I think to have a relationship with coach and management, that’s a big part of the game so everyone’s on the same page and if you can communicate with everyone, I think you can have a good result.”

Girgensons was protected during the expansion draft and he said he was happy because he doesn’t want to leave Buffalo, “Yes, I’ve been in Buffalo for a decent amount of time and I love it here and I’d love stay here as long as I can.”

Join Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray for tonight’s action from Penn State beginning at 7:00.

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