Sabres' Rodrigues getting a chance with Eichel

They played together for one season in college

Paul Hamilton
February 20, 2019 - 5:44 pm

Photo: Sergei Belski - USA TODAY Sports

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Tampa, FL (WGR 550) - Evan Rodrigues was linemates with Jack Eichel at Boston University, but it hasn’t happened all that much in the NHL. In practice on Wednesday, Rodrigues joined Eichel and Jeff Skinner. Rodrigues is happy to be back, “We’ve had some chemistry in the past and we seem to play well together when we are together so hopefully we can continue to do that.”

Rodrigues played with Eichel for one game before he got injured last season. Phil Housley added, “We’re just trying to mix it up again, we’re not getting a lot even strength, but that’s really not my concern, it’s when we don’t have the puck, that’s going to give us the best chance to win, but Evan has been playing really well and it’ll be interesting to see how that pans out.”

Things are different when Eichel is on your line. Rodrigues said you have to expect anything, “I think always being ready. He can make such incredible plays that you can’t ever be shocked by anything he does. I think one thing that gets overlooked is he’s such a dynamic player that you try to get away from him on the ice and let him do his thing one-on-one so you pull guys away from him because when he gets a guy one-on-one there are very few that can stop him.”

In that one season together in college, Eichel had 26 goals and 45 assists for 71 points in 40 games, while Rodrigues had 21 goals and 40 assists for 61 points in 41 games. Rodrigues said the connection between the two was immediate, “From the first game we played together it just seemed like we knew where each other was going to be, we knew how to find open ice,”

Rodrigues understands that they’ll be facing the best team in the league on Thursday. He said, “You’ve got to get off to a quick start and you’ve got to be ready to defend. They’re going to come out skating, so we’ve got to be 110-percent committed to defending and we can’t force anything, we have to be ready for our chances.”

Buffalo has won one of the three games against Tampa Bay this season and Rodrigues thinks playing the best can maybe spark their best, “Yes definitely and it shows the way we have to play against this team is the way we have to play against every team and that’s the mindset that we have to have.”

In practice, Nate Beaulieu was paired with Casey Nelson, but Housley wouldn’t say if that’ll be a pair against the Lightning.

 

Wednesday’s lines:

Skinner - Eichel - Rodrigues

Sheary - Mittelstadt - Reinhart

Girgensons - Larsson - Pominville

Smith - Sobotka - Thompson

 

McCabe - Ristolainen

Dahlin - Bogosian

Beaulieu - Nelson

Pilut - Hunwick

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