Hockey Heaven has been abuzz after wunderkind Jack Eichel got into the March Madness action by draining his own buzzer beater to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes with one second left in overtime. In honor of the joyous occasion, let’s rank all five of the Sabres overtime and shootout deciding goals, this season.
5. Matt Moulson Beats Jonathan Bernier
The Sabres have had tough luck with shootouts this year (2-6) and Matt Moulson is enduring a subpar season. However, everything came together October 21 as Moulson was able to beat Jonathan Bernier by out waiting him to lead the Sabres to victory.
4. Sam Reinhart Goes Five Hole
The Sabres only other shootout winner was also against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Same Reinhart shows off his slick hands by beating Garret Sparks five hole.
3. Zemgus Girgensons Cashes In on Breakaway
Just six days after the Sabres beat the Leafs in their first shootout, Zemgus Girgensons leads the franchise to its first ever 3-on-3 overtime victory. Girgensons takes the breakout pass from Carlo Colaiacovo and converts the breakaway opportunity to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers.
2. Jack Eichel Beats the Clock
The affirmentioned Eichel goal lands in at number two, maybe to the surprise of some (more on that below). Not to be taken for granted is the excellent lob pass from Evander Kane that allows Eichel to skate to open space and do the rest with the five-hole finish.
Eichel. So clutch. So easy. So beautiful.https://t.co/IiJP5NHHS0
— NHL (@NHL) March 12, 2016
1. Ryan O’Reilly Scores While Falling Backwards
This one lands at number one because of the degree of difficulty. Ryan O’Reilly takes a breakout pass from Jake McCabe and cuts to the slot and gets tripped. While falling to the ice, he has the wherewithal to fire the puck past Jonas Enroth to defeat the Los Angeles Kings in overtime.
Honorable Mention: Rasmus Ristolainen’s Scores Late in Third
Although not an overtime winner, this goal also deserves a mention. This one was a big game because long-time Sabres goaltender finally returned to Buffalo after being traded in 2014. The Sabres coughed up a two-goal lead, but Rasmus Ristolainen saved the day by scoring the game winner with just 17 seconds left.
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Featured image provided by Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers
As an American based in Amsterdam, Joe provides a unique hockey insight, bringing a global perspective to the game. Joe has several years of experience covering the game on both a domestic and international level, including being credentialed for multiple World and World Junior Championships.