Sabres' Eichel is comfortable with his game

March 10, 2017
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Jack Eichel didn’t seem too concerned about Dan Bylsma's criticism of him after the Philadelphia game. The Sabres head coach was angry that Eichel tried to beat three Flyers and turned the puck over leading to the first goal. Bylsma benched Eichel for a shift, but Jack is fine, “No I try to play the same all 60 minutes. The team asks me to make that play, so I’m going to try to make it. If it works it works, if it doesn’t it doesn’t.”
 
“It’s tough when it ends up in the back of your net and you’ve got to pick and choose your spots, but it’s my game. I think I said this a little earlier in the year, it’s tough to put handcuffs on you and they expect you to create offense and I’ve got to play with the puck on my stick during the game, so I know I’m going to turn the puck over at some point and it’s important to be careful where you do it and when you do it.”
 
“I’m an offensive player that creates stuff for our team, so I’m going to continue to make plays.”
 
Bylsma agreed on Thursday that he is tougher on younger players. I asked Eichel if that makes things tougher on him or Sam Reinhart and I got a terse, “No, not at all.”
 
You can hear all of Eichel’s comments as well as Dan Bylsma’s on the pregame show with the Bulldog starting at 6:00. Justin Bailey is back with Ryan O’Reilly and he’ll have commens about that on the pregame.
 
The Sabres face one of the league’s best team in Columbus tonight. The Blue Jackets have beaten Montreal 10-0, St. Louis 8-4, Pittsburgh 7-1, the Islanders 7-0 and Ottawa 7-6. They’re 5th in the league with 3.15 goals per game and Eichel said, “They’ve got a lot of offensive power and they can blow you out of the building if you’re not ready to play.”
 
“I like playing teams that want to play hockey, teams that sit back and trap, those are the more boring games, so I enjoy it when a team wants to get up and go and doesn’t sit back, they come at you and it allows you to go after them.”
 
Eichel has points in 11 straight games scoring five goals and 11 assists for 16 points. He also has points in 14 out of 15 games scoring 22 points. He said, “I’ve added a little more grit and compete in my game, getting in corners, getting pucks back, being more physical, little stuff like that gives you more room.”
 
The effort the Sabres have put forth in the past four periods has been totally unacceptable. Buffalo has won one of eight games during a time where they had a chance to get back into the playoff race.  
 
Robin Lehner is in net against one of the league’s best teams in Columbus. In his last six games Lehner’s goals against is 4.59 with a .853 save percentage.
 
Sergei Bobrovsky has played five of the last six games recording three straight shutouts. He gave up three goals in the other two games.
 
He was one of the few Blue Jackets that took part in the morning skate, so Joonas Korpisalo may get his 9th game of the season. Korpisalo’s record in 5-2-0 with a 2.65 goals against and .915 save percentage.
 
In their last 10 games Columbus is 7-2-1.
 
Cam Atkinson has 30 goals in 65 games this season. Their second leading scorer is Alex Wennberg who has 40 assists and 52 points in 65 games. The 22 year-old was the 14th overall pick in the 2014 draft.
 
The 8th overall pick of the 2015 draft was 19 year-old defenseman Zach Werenski. He has had a great rookie season and comes from a draft that included Connor McDavid, Eichel, Mitch Marner, Noah Hanifin, Ivan Provorov and Mikko Rantanen.
 
Marcus Foligno’s brother has had a bounce back season. Nick only scored 12 goals in 72 games last season. In 2104-15 he netted 31 goals. This year Foligno has 22 goals in 63 games.