Sabres' Nylander getting a chance with Eichel

Conor Sheary will be skating on the other wing

Paul Hamilton
March 22, 2019 - 1:48 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Not only are the Sabres getting a look at Alex Nylander, but on Saturday he’s going to get an opportunity to play with Jack Eichel. In his last two games, Nylander has a goal and two assists. He said this is going to be a great opportunity, “It’s great for me to play with a player like that, so I’ve just got to keep moving my feet and playing a simple game getting pucks to the net and try to create plays to Jack and Sheary.”

Phil Housley really has nothing to lose by giving Nylander this chance. He said, “We’re going to give him the opportunity with Jack and see what he can do.

“Jack’s excited to play with Alex because he brings a skill set and I think he’s just got to attack the game like he did in the third period and when he does that, he’s effective.”

I had wondered if playing with a player of Jack Eichel’s abilities is harder. Nylander said quite the opposite, “I think it’s probably easier because you know what he’s going to do, you know he can make plays and he can shoot the puck too, so you have to be aware at all times because when he has the puck it’ll be right on you tape.”

Conor Sheary will be the other winger on the line and Sheary thinks in just five games, Nylander has evolved, “When he came up he was a little bit nervous, but I think in the last few games he’s really found himself. I think he’s a skilled player and has a really good shot and it was good for him to get his first one the other night.”

Sheary’s been around, winning the Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh. He said the veterans on this team did help to calm Nylander down, “I think it’s a comfortability thing and I think if us older guys can help him and make him feel comfortable and let him know that he can just play his game and be successful, I think that will help him.”

Sheary has had experience playing with not only Eichel, but Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin too. He said you can’t do things differently, “I’m going to approach it the same. Maybe a few instinct things will be a little bit different, especially in the offensive zone and off the rush because he has the ability to find you in places that you won’t even expect the puck, so I’ll just try to get open and find that soft area for him.”

Sheary has looked like he’s been flying for the last few games and it paid off with a goal against the Blues. He agrees that he needs to use speed to be effective, “I feel like I’m playing a little bit better, I’m starting to use my speed a little bit more and I’m creating a lot more turnovers than I was and I think that’s the way I’m going to be effective.”

The Sabres will play two games in Sweden this November. It won’t be the first time Phil Housley has been there, “It was in 1989 in the World Championships in the new Globe rink in Stockholm, which was a beautiful facility and it was exciting to be a part of it.”

Zach Bogosian returned to practice, but Matt Hunwick missed again with an upper-body injury. He’s day-to-day and won’t play Saturday.

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