Jack Quinn has recovered from two significant injuries this season. ©2024, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Jack Quinn finding ‘mojo’ after return from injury

BUFFALO – When Sabres winger Jack Quinn made a fast impact upon his return from a torn Achilles in mid-December, he had been skating for two months.

Despite a six-month recovery, Quinn, 22, looked fresh and in mid-season form, scoring two goals in his first three games.

But when Quinn returned last week from a lower-body injury he suffered Jan. 27, he had been skating just a week and a half and practiced once.

He looked rusty, and he clearly needed more time to acclimate. In his first three contests, he recorded zero points, a minus-5 rating and mustered one shot on goal.

“It was tough just in the sense of, I think, getting my legs under me,” Quinn told the Times Herald after recording an assist in Tuesday’s 6-2 win over the Washington Capitals at KeyBank Center.

Quinn certainly had his legs Tuesday, as he buzzed all over the ice creating offense. On a night four Sabres recorded three points, he still stood out, setting up a goal by deftly feeding center Tage Thompson from the bottom of the right circle and pumping three shots on net and attempting another four.

“It definitely felt like my best game and felt like I was kind of finding my mojo a little,” Quinn said. “But honestly, just starting to feel like myself again with the conditioning and getting my legs under me, just kind of having the energy to play with pace.”

Sabres coach Don Granato said the three games Quinn played last week over a four-night stretch were “kind of his conditioning.”

“Getting back into game mode and dealing with chaos,” he said. “That’s really hard to replicate when he hasn’t practiced or played in a while. And really the first three games, he looked disoriented at times as a result, which is natural.

“Tonight, he looked way, way better. Way more comfortable with the chaos around him. And obviously, everybody saw it. I mean, just watch him. He had some really nice moments today.”

While he scored right away in December, Quinn said his recent return “was pretty similar.”

“I just was able to bury two goals in the three games, and I probably could’ve done that if you get the bounces,” he said. “You never know when they’re going to go in.”

Thompson put one in 4:48 into the third period, burying Quinn’s adroit feed in front of the net. Thompson immediately saluted the youngster by pointing at him.

Rookie winger Zach Benson, who has recently skated at left wing alongside Quinn and center Dylan Cozens, got the puck to Quinn by winning a battle along the end boards.

“Fantastic play,” Quinn said. “… I think just because of the breakdown of Benny winning the battle Tommer was wide open there.”

The Sabres, who host the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday, had Wednesday off.

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