Jack Eichel scores game-winner in NHL pre-season debut
Beats Wild's Kuemper with SHG late in 3rd period
The Jack Eichel love-in reached a new level on Monday night.
Buffalo Sabres fans in attendance at Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota watched the No. 2 overall pick this summer score the winning goal in his NHL pre-season debut, a short-handed marker against Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper, with 5:44 left in the third period for a 3-2 victory.
Jack Eichel's GWG as <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Sabres?src=hash">#Sabres</a> begin preseason 1-0. Full highlights to come on <a href="http://t.co/GvTkURDMwh">http://t.co/GvTkURDMwh</a>. <a href="http://t.co/ir7BlVWI7T">pic.twitter.com/ir7BlVWI7T</a>—@BuffaloSabres
Eichel, 18, earned his first point earlier in the period with an assist on Matt Moulson's goal that tied the game 2-2.
In the first period, Eichel wowed the crowd of 17,217 with a spin-o-rama that fooled Wild defenceman Jared Spurgeon.
Darcy Kuemper on Jack Eichel: "he's obviously a pretty special player to make some of the plays he made out there." <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/mnwild?src=hash">#mnwild</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/sabres?src=hash">#sabres</a>—@Russostrib
Eichel, who finished with a plus-1 rating in 17 minutes 26 seconds of ice time, centred a line with Zemgus Girgensons and Moulson, with whom he is living in his first NHL season.
Sabres head coach told the Buffalo News he likes the line because Moulson's best work comes within 20 feet of the net, a spot where Eichel can feed him.
"His head is always up," said Girgensons of Eichel, who won the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in American college hockey last year after scoring 26 goals and leading the NCAA in scoring at Boston University.
"He sees his reads, reads the ice super well. That's a great thing to have."