BUFFALO – After serving his two-game suspension, captain and leading scorer Jack Eichel will return for Saturday’s road game against the Carolina Hurricanes. So maybe, just maybe, the Sabres can end their dubious drought and score a goal.
Of course, Eichel’s last outing, Saturday afternoon’s miserable 3-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche, was one of the Sabres’ worst offensive efforts in recent memory.
So forget about the Sabres’ six-game losing streak. At this point, simply scoring a goal – they’ve been shut out three straight games – would be a huge moral victory.
The Sabres haven’t scored in 197:40, a stunning stretch of futility.
“We need a goal,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said this afternoon. “We’d like to get a result with that, too. I think we’re still, at times, turning away opportunities to get pucks to the net. I think we just to really simplify our game and throw everything to net. We got to get people going there and getting dirty and hungry to score a goal.”
Housley, of course, was essentially repeating what he and his players said following Thursday’s 5-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
After going more than a week without scoring a goal, part of the struggle has become mental.
“For some guys, it’s been a while,” Eichel said inside KeyBank Center. “I think it’s just human nature that it starts to creep into your mind a bit and maybe you’re gripping your stick a little tight and you’re thinking about it. Just keep it simple, try to get pucks to the net, try to get bodies there. It’s bound to go in.”
Check back later for more on the Sabres’ scoring woes.
In other news, Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian practiced today inside HarborCenter after an upper-body injury sidelined him Thursday.
Housley said the Sabres would know more on Bogosian’s status later and he would accompany the team to Carolina.
“I feel ready to go,” Bogosian said.
Meanwhile, defenseman Marco Scandella missed today’s session and is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Housley said he would travel with the team.
Sabres forwards Vladimir Sobotka and Scott Wilson skated an extras today, meaning they could be scratched Saturday. Zemgus Girgensons would move in after sitting out two games as a healthy scratch.
Sobotka hasn’t been a healthy scratch this season.