The Sabres can't win without Eichel playing well

The Sabres fall to 1-2-0 on their Western Conference road trip

Paul Hamilton
October 19, 2018 - 2:52 am

Photo: John Hefti - USA TODAY Sports

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(WGR 550) - The Sabres came out of the dressing room and had a much better start. They got a few quick opportunities on Martin Jones, but then a veteran takes a bad penalty. Kyle Okposo gets a double minor for high sticking and the Sharks scored two power play goals in 27-seconds.

The first one was very poor awareness by the defense as Joonas Donskoi was left all alone next to Carter Hutton to collect a rebound. On the second, Joe Pavelski totally screened Hutton and Buffalo was down by two just 4:02 in.

When the teams were playing five-on-five, the Sabres played very good hockey. In the first period, San Jose only had two shots at even strength.

Before Jake McCabe scored in the second period, the Sabres seemed to work pretty hard to produce chances. Jason Pominville got to the wall to cut off a Jones clearing attempt and then found Vladimir Sobotka down the slot, but Jones made the save.

Former Sabre Evander Kane was all over the ice and almost had a shorthanded goal in the first period. That came right after Casey Mittelstadt hit the post on a half open net on the power play.

The Sabres skated much better in this game than they did in Vegas. Jack Eichel seemed to be going well, but the problem was he was over passing the puck instead of shooting. 

The McCabe goal came about when Rasmus Dahlin got a puck to the net. Jeff Skinner kept the play alive in front and McCabe jumped into the left circle and scored on an off angle shot. Jones never saw it as Erik Karlsson screened him.

The Sabres seemed to be out of hope in the third period as San Jose was in total control for the first 7:40 scoring one goal and out-shooting the Sabres 10-2. Buffalo started running around and pretty much never got out of their own end.

The Sabres were able to get some zone time on the power play, but Skinner hit the post while his teammates all shot wide. After that, it was back to all Sharks and they just poured it on.

This is another game where all the Sabres' skill players could not come through. Buffalo can’t have Eichel, Skinner, Reinhart, Mittelstadt and Sheary all in slumps and expect to win. It may not be fair to put this on Eichel, but if the Sabres want to be a good team, he can’t go into prolonged slumps. He is now their leader and their captain. He has to show the way game in and game out. Reinhart also can't wait to January 1 to break out of his slump like he did last year.

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