Recap: O’Reilly and Eichel Lead Sabres Past Coyotes

The Buffalo Sabres snapped their four-game losing streak tonight against the Arizona Coyotes. They were the better team throughout the night, but they let the Coyotes stick around and make a game of it in the third period. The big names like Jack Eichel and Ryan O’Reilly showed up for the Sabres and led them to victory with three points each.

Arizona showed some resiliency fighting back in the game a few times to get even, but it just wasn’t enough at the end of the night. They struggled to get any significant pressure on the Sabres’ defense and goaltender. Special teams ultimately made the difference as the Coyotes’ penalty kill couldn’t contain the Sabres’ potent power play.

First Period

The Sabres got off to a slow start early in the game. Arizona put the pressure on early and was rewarded by scoring the first goal of the game. Teemu Pulkkinen scored his second of the season and first as a Coyote in his debut. He completed a nice give and go play with Max Domi.

After the Coyotes goal, the Sabres started to take over the period. After a delay-of-game penalty to Zemgus Girgensons, the visitors had a chance to increase their lead and really put the Sabres in a hole. However, after some strong work by Ryan O’Reilly, he fed Marcus Foligno in front of the Arizona net all alone to tie the score at one with a shorthanded goal. After 20 minutes the two clubs were tied at one as the Sabres had a 12-4 advantage in shots on goal.

Second Period

The Sabres were the better team in the second period as well. They jumped into the lead for the first time in the game as Jack Eichel found O’Reilly with a nice cross-ice pass on the power play for his 14th of the season.

Things looked to be getting bleak for the Coyotes as they took another penalty right after the O’Reilly goal. This time, however, the Coyotes scored a shorthanded goal to tie the game. Tobias Rieder used his speed to get by O’Reilly and beat a lunging Robin Lehner for his 14th of the season.

After the tying goal, the home team took back control of the game. They were all over the Coyotes, forcing Mike Smith to make some nice saves to keep his team in it. Sam Reinhart drew a tripping penalty on Brandon Perlini to give the Sabres another power play with just under 10 minutes remaining in the period. Reinhart drew the penalty and set up Eichel for his 15th of the season on the man-advantage with a great pass in front of the net. The Sabres headed to the locker ahead 3-2 after 40 minutes and held a 31-10 advantage in shots on goal.

Third Period

The Sabres have blown third-period leads in their previous two games and one of those was against these very Coyotes. Unfortunately, the trend repeated itself again tonight. Alex Goligoski would tie the game at three eight minutes into the third. The Sabres had control of the game but allowed the Coyotes to stick around.

Instead of panicking after giving up the game-tying goal, the Sabres took back the momentum and gave themselves an opportunity to win. Jakob Chychrun fumbled a puck at his own blue line and O’Reilly broke into the offensive zone on a three-on-two with Evander Kane. O’Reilly dropped a nice pass to the red-hot Kane, who put a laser over the shoulder of Smith to put the Sabres back in front with just over five minutes remaining.

Although they blew another third-period lead, the Sabres held on for a victory on this night. Marcus Foligno and Sam Reinhart would add two empty-net goals for a 6-3 final score. They seemed to be in control throughout the game and heavily outshot the Coyotes 41-22 at the end of the night in a deserving win.


Scoring Summary


ARZ – Teemu Pulkkinen (2) assisted by Max Domi and Christian Dvorak – 7:54

BUF – Marcus Foligno (11) (SH) assisted by Ryan O’Reilly and Rasmus Ristolainen – 11:54


BUF – Ryan O’Reilly (14) (PP) assisted by Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo – 0:57

ARZ – Tobias Rieder (14) (SH) unassisted  – 2:05

BUF – Jack Eichel (15) (PP) assisted by Sam Reinhart and Kyle Okposo – 11:08


ARZ – Alex Goligoski (3) assisted by Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Tobias Rieder – 8:20

BUF – Evander Kane (23) assisted by Ryan O’Reilly and Jake McCabe – 14:24

BUF – Marcus Foligno (12) (EN) assisted by Jack Eichel and Cody Franson – 18:17

BUF – Sam Reinhart (15) (EN) unassisted – 19:56

  THW Three Stars

First: Ryan O’Reilly (1 G, 2 A)

Second: Jack Eichel (1 G, 2 A)

Third: Marcus Foligno (2 G)


Next Up

Tampa Bay Lightning at Buffalo Sabres

Key Bank Center – 7:00 p.m. EST (Saturday, March 4)

Broadcast channels: MSG-B & SUN

2016-17 Season Series: Nov. 17  – Lightning 4, Sabres 1 | Jan. 12 – Lightning 4, Sabres 2

Next Up

Arizona Coyotes at Carolina Hurricanes

PNC Arena – 7:30 p.m. EST (Friday, March 3)

Broadcast channel: FS-SE & FS-A PLUS

2016-17 Season Series: Jan. 3 – Canadiens 2, Predators 1 (OT)