Eichel earns hat trick against former club in ninth straight win

Final
Vegas Golden Knights
7
Buffalo Sabres
4

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.

Jack Eichel scores a hat trick against former club

Nov 10, 2022; Buffalo, New York, USA; Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel (9) reacts after scoring a goal during the third period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Overall Game Grades

OFFENSE

Vegas Golden Knights

A+

The offense was literally on fire all night long and it was a breath of fresh air. Jack Eichel getting a well deserved hat trick was just the icing on the cake. Creating scoring chances is what the Golden Knights do better than any team in the NHL. Converting on those chances came at the most opportune time. Crowding the net and making sure they maintained a consistent attack is a major reason the Golden Knights are on a big win streak.

DEFENSE

Vegas Golden Knights

C+

The defense for the most part did its job. However, giving up two goals that were easily avoidable is something that was hard to overlook. True, the game was in a hostile environment and it was a game that had some history attached to it. All in all, a win is a win is a win. 7-2 or 7-1 sounds a lot better in the win column than a 7-4 score.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Vegas Golden Knights

D-

There is some positives and negatives here. The good news is that the power play unit itself for the most part does its job. At the end of the game. giving up a short-handed goal… C’mon maaaaan! On top of that, the penalty kill unit gave up a goal in two of the three chances given to the Sabres. The penalty kill for the Golden Knights has definitely been a sign of concern this season. Even in big wins, these things can be exposed. Outside of Chandler Stephenson’s first period power play goal, there is not much to celebrate here.

GOALTENDING

Vegas Golden Knights

B-

Logan Thompson has officially been given the keys to be the number one goaltender between the pipes, Sure, he gave up four goals on the night. Some were not entirely on him but giving up four goals in one game is for the most part considered a bad night. All things considered, win is a win no matter how many goals get past you. The confidence in relying on Thompson is at a high mark and not every night will be spotless. As long as you g9ive your team a chance to win, you are held in high regard.

Looking ahead

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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