Eichel scores career-high 4 goals, Sabres top Senators 4-2

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Jack Eichel scored four goals to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.

It was the first four-goal performance of Eichel’s five-year NHL career, and the first by a Sabres player since Thomas Vanek in April 2010. It was Eichel’s second hat trick, with the first coming on Dec. 15, 2017, against Carolina.

The Sabres snapped a six-game losing streak and improved to 10-6-3.

Eichel’s first three goals were all highlight-reel shots. The Sabres captain capped the performance with an empty-net goal.

The eventual game-winner came with 7:47 remaining. Eichel raced into the left circle and cut inside on defenceman Nikita Zaitsev, beating Craig Anderson with a shot to the blocker side.

Eichel opened the scoring 1:28 into the second period, using his speed in the right circle and beating Anderson high to the glove side. Eichel picked up his second of the game midway through the second, scoring on a hard wrist shot from the slot.

He added an empty-net goal from centre ice with 13.7 seconds remaining.

Linus Ullmark made 21 saves for Buffalo.

Tyler Ennis and Anthony Duclair scored for Ottawa, which lost after consecutive wins. Anderson made 28 saves.

The Sabres have been in the midst of a difficult stretch in which they have fallen in the standings after opening the season at the top of the Eastern Conference with a 9-2-1 start.

Ennis evened the score against his former team 2:01 into the third period on a redirection from close range.

Ottawa’s first goal came on the power play 6:04 into the second period, moments after a 5-on-3 opportunity ended. Duclair finished a cross-ice pass inside the right circle for his seventh goal of the season.

Sabres winger Kyle Okposo left the game with five minutes remaining in the second period with a possible head injury. Okposo accidentally collided with Senators defenceman Ron Hainsey after he went onto the ice for a line change. Okposo has a worrisome history with concussions, having suffered two previous concussions as a member of the Sabres.

NOTES: LW Johan Larsson (upper body), D Colin Miller and D John Gilmour were scratched for the Sabres. It was Larsson’s first missed game of the season. … D Cody Goloubef and Mikkel Boedker were scratched for Ottawa. … Senators RW Tyler Ennis spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Sabres (2009-17) after being chosen 26th overall in 2008. … The next meeting between the teams is Monday, Dec. 23 in Ottawa.

UP NEXT:

Senators: At Detroit on Tuesday.

Sabres: At Chicago on Sunday.

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© 2019 The Canadian Press

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