The New York Rangers have had to deal with many stars of the NHL in the early portions of their schedule, including Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid.
They apparently forgot all about Jack Eichel.
The young Buffalo superstar, selected second overall in last year’s draft, scored the game tying and game winning goals less than two minutes apart, and the Rangers lost a 3-2 third period lead to the Sabres, falling 4-3 at KeyBank Center.
It was the second game back for Eichel, who missed the 21 games of the Sabres’ season with an injury suffered in training camp. He already has four points in just two games, including three goals after last night’s heroics.
Eichel’s putting the rest of the league on notices was part of an overall sour night in Buffalo for the Rangers, who got off to a rough start. Henrik Lundqvist allowed in perhaps the most brutal goal of his career, as a dump attempt by Johan Larsson went into the net for a goal just 18 seconds into the game. The Rangers (16-8-1) would manage to knot things up before the end of the period with a power play goal by Ryan McDonagh, who finally tallied his first goal of the season.
The rest of the game was a story of blown leads despite the Rangers’ talent
contributing. Rick Nash put in his 11th score of the season with another power play goal, but that 2-1 lead lasted just 93 seconds before a former Devil haunted the Rangers in the form of Brian Gionta, who scored his fifth. The Rangers ended the period with a 3-2 lead after a score from Marc Staal, but it only set up Eichel’s heroics.
While Adam Clendening was in the penalty box, Eichel put in the first tally, and capped it off with the go-ahead goal. Outshot 12-5 in the final frame, the Rangers could not muster the comeback effort necessary, dropping their second in a row to the Sabres (9-9-5).
The Rangers will look to right their ship with their second meeting in three games with the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday afternoon (1:00, MSG)
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490