Jaroslav Halak, Jarret Stoll

The West’s second round is set


If you love goals, you might want to put the Penguins-Flyers series on “save until delete” status on your DVR. The Western Conference’s semifinals bracket is chock-full of tight-checking teams, with these two intriguing matchups coming down the pike:

2. St. Louis Blues vs. 8. Los Angeles Kings

3. Phoenix Coyotes vs. 4. Nashville Predators

It’s strange that three of the top four seeds advanced to the second round yet that foursome seems to defy conventional wisdom. Balmy weather could very well be a factor for three “non-traditional” ice surfaces. The Blues haven’t smelled the first round since 2002. The Coyotes haven’t been to the semifinals since 1987 (when they were the Winnipeg Jets) while the Predators are on their second-ever trip to round two.

In other words, expect a lot of new faces but probably not a ton of goals.

Actually, that brings me to a fun question to get things started: if you could roll with any of the goalies on those four teams, which one would you choose? It’s almost as tough to make that call as it is to score on these squads.

Video: Eichel’s first career NHL goal

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Didn’t take long for Jack Eichel to make his mark at the NHL level.

The No. 2 overall pick at this year’s draft scored his first-ever NHL goal in his first-ever NHL game on Thursday night, cutting Ottawa’s lead to 2-1 in the third period of Buffalo’s season-opener.

Marcus Foligno and another new Sabre, Evander Kane, registered the assists on Eichel’s marker, which came on the power play.


Tough start: Lehner knocked out of Sabres debut, won’t return

Matt Puempel, Alex Chiasson, Robin Lehner
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Chances are Robin Lehner won’t look back fondly on his first game as a Sabre.

Midway through Buffalo’s season-opener against Ottawa, Lehner — facing his old team for the first time since getting traded this summer — suffered a lower-body injury, and was forced from the contest.

During the second intermission, the Sabres ruled out Lehner for the night.

It was a difficult turn of events for 24-year-old, who admitted he was keen to go up against the Sens. He had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about his time in the Canadian capital; Lehner felt he never got a full opportunity to run with the No. 1 gig, and probably wasn’t thrilled GM Bryan Murray opted to keep Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond instead of him.

As for tonight’s injury, details are scarce. All that’s known is the ailment was serious enough for Lehner to leave and not return, forcing backup Chad Johnson into duty.

Prior to getting hurt, Lehner had stopped 11 of 12 shots faced.