Jack Eichel had a four-point game last week. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jack Eichel, Robin Lehner earn second, third star of week

BUFFALO – Splendid performances from center Jack Eichel and goalie Robin Lehner earned the Sabres the NHL’s second and third star for the week ending Jan. 28.

Eichel led the league with two goals and five points as the Sabres won three straight games for the first time since Feb. 14-18, 2017. The NHL All-Star scored his third career overtime winner in last Monday’s 2-1 win in Calgary. He followed up with his third career four-point night in Tuesday’s 5-0 win in Edmonton.

The American compiled one goal and three points in two outings during Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game.

Eichel has scored a team-high 20 goals and 49 points in 49 games this season.

Lehner, meanwhile, posted consecutive shutouts, stopping 33 shots Wednesday and 30 in Thursday’s 4-0 win in Vancouver. The Swede became the first Sabres goalie to blank consecutive opponents since Ryan Miller on Feb. 29 and March 1, 2012.

Vancouver winger Brock Boeser was named first star. The rookie earned NHL All-Star Game MVP honors, won Saturday’s accuracy skills competition and scored two goals in two games earlier in the week.

A few updates from this afternoon’s practice inside HarborCenter, the first following a three-day break:

Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, out the last two games after suffering an upper-body injury early last Monday, skated as a spare.

Beaulieu hit his head on the ice fighting Curtis Lazar after the Flames forward stuck his leg out behind the net.

“The intent wasn’t dirty but I didn’t really like what happened the first couple minutes of the game, so I thought I needed to do that,” Beaulieu said of the hit. “It’s just unfortunate how I fell. I didn’t think there was a need for it but that’s hockey.”

– Eichel spoke to the media today but didn’t practice.

Does he have a favorite memory from his first NHL All-Star Game?

“I don’t know if there’s one thing that you can pinpoint,” he said. “I thought that the three-on-three was a lot of fun yesterday. It was nice to just hang out with the guys during the skills competition and get to know some players you don’t know and spend some time with the league’s best and guys that I’ve looked up to my whole life.

“I think that’s probably one of the things that I’ll take away from it. Just being around them was pretty cool for me, getting to know them a little bit and building a relationship.”

– Lehner credited the Sabres’ strong play during the trip for his honor.

“Every part of our game was great,” he said. “I think I saw one odd-man rush in two games and I didn’t have to make that many big (saves). It was great stuff for us as a team.”

– Former Sabres captain Brian Gionta, who’s set to captain Team USA at next month’s Pyeongchang Games, will play for the Rochester Americans on Friday. The Greece native signed a one-game professional tryout with Buffalo’s AHL affiliate today.

Gionta, 39, passed on NHL opportunities so he could play in the Olympics.

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