Sabres' Eichel is able to channel his emotion into the right direction

January 23, 2018

(WGR 550) - Before Jack Eichel went to Western Canadian on Sunday, he spoke to me about the 7-1 loss to Dallas and what’s up next.

Eichel was very frustrated and really didn’t know what to say anymore. His answers were short, but they were not disrespectful at all, it was just a young man showing genuine frustration and emotion about what’s going on with his team.

That came after a tough practice from Phil Housley.

Eichel went out and did something about it in Calgary and the Sabres skated away with a 2-1 overtime win.

He’s been frustrated about the fact he had been missing the net a lot, especially on the one-timers from the left wing circle, so he’s been working extra on that.

With the overtime winner against the Flames, Eichel has points in six straight games netting four goals and six assists for 10 points.

He is now 26th in league scoring with 19 goals and 26 assists for 45 points in 47 games. It’s no secret that if this team is to have any success, he needs to lead the way.

Eichel caught fire in the beginning of December. In 21 games he has 12 goals and 14 assists for 26 points. He can’t do it alone and I think we all know that, but he has to be this good for them to have any success.

The power play came through again, even though Eichel's goal was not on the PP. It came three seconds after the Calgary penalty had ended and the player had just stepped on the ice when the goal was scored. Coming in, they had power play goals in four straight games not counting Columbus. They did not get a chance on the power play against the Blue Jackets. 

Chad Johnson returned home to play against his old team and had his best game of the season. Johnson made 32 saves and was there each and every time his team needed a big save. He had no chance on the one goal that did beat him and in my mind, earned the next start in Edmonton.

That opinion has zero to do with Robin Lehner and everything to do with Johnson earning it.

Now we’ve seen this all before, they play one good game and then what? That’s the key. What’s the effort going to be like in Edmonton? Can they sustain things all the way through Vancouver?

If that starts happening maybe then we will have fresh questions for Jack Eichel and in turn, he will have fresh answers.