The Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes appeared content today with ending their matchup in a shootout. Jack Eichel on the other hand, he had different plans. With just 1 second left on the game clock, Eichel sent the Buffalo Sabres fans home happy.
When the puck dropped to open this game, it was clear to everyone attending and watching at home that neither team had any urgency to get the wheels moving today.
What ensued was a very, very dull first period that featured a blistering 12 shots combined. A fantastic way to start a matinee matchup, for sure.
Luckily for the world, both Buffalo and Carolina decided to increase the pace of the game as the second period began. It took a few minutes but we finally saw some action, albeit a negative outcome, but action nonetheless.
A bad defensive play by Jack Eichel began the play. Eichel took a Hurricane to the ice and did not clear the puck away from him. This allowed Phillip Di Giuseppe to grab the loose puck next to the net, and Di Giuseppe flipped it into the net over goaltender Chad Johnson.
Di Giuseppe’s 6th goal of the season, at 6:42 of the second period, broke the scoreless tie and gave Carolina a 1-0 lead.
Much to Carolina’s chagrin, their lead was short-lived.
A bad clearing attempt started by Ron Hainsey and finished by Michal Jordan ended up directly on the stick of Marcus Foligno.
Foligno goal pic.twitter.com/D8E0Z0I19F
— Stephanie (@myregularface) March 12, 2016
Good awareness by Foligno to not only intercept the puck, but being able to place a shot so quickly that beat goaltender Cam Ward. Foligno’s career-high 9th goal of the season, at 7:52 of the second period, tied the game up at 1.
Things would remain unnervingly quiet until early into the third period, when the Buffalo Sabres young guns flexed their muscles.
Sam Reinhart has become known very quickly this season for having excellent vision on the ice. Reinhart showed that excellent vision off on the Sabres’ 2nd goal of the game. Both Reinhart and Jack Eichel skated forward into their own offensive zone and at the very last second, Reinhart threaded a perfect pass to the tape of Eichel’s stick. Eichel subsequently deposited the puck past Cam Ward.
Eichel’s 21st goal of the season, at 4:56 of the second period, put the Sabres up 2-1.
Like Carolina’s first lead of the game, Buffalo’s first lead of the game was also short lived due to a poor tripping penalty from Evander Kane.
Victor Rask was able to find himself all alone in front of the Sabres goal, thanks to what appeared to be a misplay by Josh Gorges. When Rask obtained the puck, he made no mistake and backhanded the puck past Chad Johnson.
Rask’s 16th goal of the season, at 9:01 of the third period, tied this game at 2.
For the remaining 10 plus minutes of the third period, both teams exchanged chances at both ends of the ice but nothing came to fruition. That means this game would head to an extra frame of 3-on-3 hockey.
As the preceding 60 minutes of hockey showed us, this game was not full of the best hockey we’ve seen this season but the extra five minutes provided a moment we won’t soon forget.
With time quickly ticking off at the end of the overtime period, Jack Eichel grabbed the puck and found himself on a break away. The rest, as they say, is history. We’ll let Rick Jeanneret tell you what happened.
Jack Eichel’s 2nd goal of the game, and 22nd of the season, at 4:59 of the overtime period. Wow, man.
All my words have evacuated my brain cells, so here are some quick hits.
- What a game.
This game was pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty boring (until overtime).
Larry David is me through the first three periods.
This was me after the overtime goal.
No words can explain how I feel right now, guys. I gave that RJ goal call a few listens and man, I just can’t put it into words. I can’t tell you how the hockey feels have taken me over. This goal will be something we see on the highlight reels for years to come.
Not to mention, 22 goals (!!) for Eichel. 25 is almost a lock, maybe we’ll see 30?
- Flashing Back.
Eichel OT winner in the final second pic.twitter.com/6cdYXrYL8K
— Stephanie (@myregularface) March 12, 2016
I JUST CAN’T GET OVER IT, GUYS. JACK EICHEL IS SOOOOOOOOO GOOD AT THE STICK PUCK AND HE IS OURS FOR LIKE EVER.
Hockey will be good soon, I promise. For now, we can feast on Jack Eichel making Stanley Cup-winning goaltenders look foolish and bad at their job.
- Chad Johnson, the real.
As he continues to make sporadic starts, Chad Johnson continues to cement himself as a must for the Buffalo Sabres heading into next season.
Johnson stopped 28 of 30 shots today (.933 save percentage) and was the main reason Buffalo found themselves any where near winning this game. Johnson made a handful of very big saves in the face of multiple Hurricanes players.
The win today bumps Johnson’s record up to 16-14-3 on the season with a 2.40 GAA and a .918 save percentage. Yeah, he can hang around for a little while.