Eichel nets game-winner in preseason debut

The Canadian Press via AP
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The results of exhibition games have to be taken with a grain of salt, but Buffalo Sabres fans eager to move past two campaigns of hardship got exactly what they wanted from Jack Eichel‘s first preseason contest.

Eichel set up Matt Moulson‘s goal in the second period and scored a shorthanded marker with 5:44 minutes remaining in regulation time to lead Buffalo to a 3-2 victory over Minnesota.

“He’s everything that you hear,” Wild defenseman Ryan Suter said of Eichel, per the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo. “Steady, big, long reach, upright skater. He slows the game down.”

“(Eichel’s) obviously a pretty special player to make some of the plays he made out there,” Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper said, who lost the shorthanded battle to Eichel.

As if to emphasize the fact that this was just an exhibition contest, the game didn’t end after three periods despite Buffalo’s lead. The two sides continued the contest in the interest of practicing the new 3-on-3 OT format and Zach Parise scored during that stretch. The official boxscore still gave the win to Buffalo though.