Jack Eichel was looking to make a statement in his return to Buffalo and he did more than just deliver the milk and cookies. He added a triple fudge sundae with it. The Golden Knights headed into Buffalo on an eight game win streak and managed to extend it to nine with a 7-4 victory over the Sabres. In the victory, Eichel managed to score a hat trick with an assist against his former club.
The win over Buffalo completes an outstanding perfect road trip with wins over Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Washington included in the mix. It also improves the Golden Knights season record to a league-best 13-2-0, keeping pace with coach Bruce Cassidy’s former club, the Boston Bruins, who have a 12-2-0 record as of Thursday evening. The five game road trip was the first time in franchise history the Golden Knights completed a five game road trip with a perfect record.
First Period Impressions
The Golden Knights got off to an aggressive start with some early shots on Eric Comrie before Chandler Stephenson was able to get a goal with 14:06 left in the period. Tage Thompson of the Sabres was a very determined individual for the home side and it would eventually pay off to even the score at 1-1 a piece with 3:37 left in the opening period off a power play. The opening period closed with a mixed bag of impressions. On one hand the Golden Knights played fairly decent, on the other hand, the penalty kill continues to cause havoc on the team’s overall ability to play a complete game.
Second Period Impressions
Phil Kessel got the Golden Knights back on top with his second goal of the season with 16:17 left in the period. And much like the first period, the Sabres were able to counter with another game-tying goal with 5:51 left. Despite the two goals given up, Logan Thompson still look fairly good in net for the Golden Knights. Rookie Paul Cotter would answer the Casey Mittelstadt goal with a goal of his own putting the Golden Knights up 3-2 in the second. Overall, one of the better second periods the Golden Knights have played in a majority of the season. A good second usually has a good omen for the overall game result.
Third Period Impressions
Welcome to the best period of Jack Eichel’s career. Alex Pietrangelo got the scoring off to a great start with a wrist shot off the stick of Eichel and Stephenson to make it 4-2 Vegas. Three mnutes later with 13:47 left, Eichel scored his first goal of the game making it a 5-2 score. Tage Thompson would make it 5-3 with his second goal of the night just three minutes after the first Eichel goal. Then with 5:23 left, Eichel responded with his second of the night and it was a massive statement goal against his former club. A pair of penalties would lead to a 4-on-4 situation and then a 6-on-4 situation with the Sabres pulling Comrie from the net. Rasmus Asplund would make it a 6-4 game with 3:29 left. As the Sabres left the net empty, Eichel would seal the deal with an empty net goal giving him a hat trick with just eight seconds left in the game. Overall, the offense was on point. The defense gave up a couple of goals that were really unnecessary, but a win is a win.
Overall Game Grades
The Golden Knights will return home to T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues, who snapped an eight game losing streak against the San Jose Sharks with a 5-3 win. After Saturday’s contest, the Golden Knights will have two Pacific Division contests on Tuesday with San Jose and Thursday with Arizona.
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