Jack Eichel’s 17-game point streak ended Thursday when the Sabres captain missed the game against the Philadelphia Flyers with an upper-body injury.
Eichel had 31 points (16 goals, 15 assists) during the longest point streak of the 2019-20 NHL season to date. Unfortunately, due to the injury, the 23-year-old will fall one game short of Gilbert Perreault’s franchise record of 18-games set in 1971.
“He’s playing against top lines of other teams all the time, trying to shut them down and win those games within the game and that means a lot to him right now,” Sabres coach Ralph Krueger told NHL.com. “His offense is breeding out of that and it’s coming without the same pressure as in the past because he feels good about a strong defensive game.”
Entering Thursday, Connor McDavid led the NHL in scoring with 59 points and Eichel sits in fifth with 50 points. The former Boston University standout is not the front-runner for the Hart Trophy at this point, but he has catapulted himself into the conversation.
Buffalo Sabres legendary forward Rick Martin has passed away. According to The Buffalo News, Martin reportedly suffered a heart attack while driving. He was 59 years old.
He was a member of the legendary “French Connection” line for the Sabres during the 1970s. Paired up with Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert, Martin was a goal scoring force for the Sabres during their early heyday. Five times during his 11-year NHL career Martin scored 40 or more goals, including back-to-back seasons with 52 goals in 1973-74 and 1974-75.
The Sabres statement on Martin pays reverence to the man who helped Buffalo hockey in their earliest years.
“The Buffalo Sabres are saddened to announce the passing of Buffalo Sabres Hall of Famer and member of the famed French Connection, Rick Martin. Rick was not only one of the greatest players in franchise history, he was a great friend to the Sabres organization and the entire community. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Sabres organization go out to his wife Mikey and their two sons, Corey and Josh.”
Recently, new Sabres owner Terry Pegula brought back the French Connection as a means to celebrate the history of the team and to help new fans appreciate the roots that helped Pegula become a Sabres fan. Reuniting those three players was a great symbolic treat for fans in Buffalo and as Sabres Edge notes, Rene Robert, who just lost his brother this morning to a heart attack, said this will be a tough blow for fans in Buffalo.
“It’s like a bad dream,” said Robert, who is in Florida visiting his daughter. “First my brother, then my left winger. I lose Rico (Martin). I tell you what. This one is going to be tough for everybody in Buffalo. It’s too bad. (Owner Terry) Pegula just put us together. He told us, ‘You guys are going to be here now until you die.'”
Expect the outpouring of emotion and recognition for Martin to be very honorable and moving. The Sabres play this afternoon at home against Ottawa.