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Thursday, October 8, 2015
By +Scott Leffler 
scott.leffler@eastniagarapost.com


BUFFALO — Rookie sensation Jack Eichel scored in his regular season debut as a Buffalo Sabre. It appeared that Evander Kane did, too. But appearances are subject to review this year.

A third-period goal by Kane was nullified after a coaches challenge was called for by the Senators. The Sabres were offside by an inch, taking what looked like a 2-2 contest and momentum for the Blue and Gold, and returning it to a 2-1 game. The Sabres maintained pressure but were unable to put the puck in the net for a second time.

An empty net goal by Curtis Lazar with just over a minute to go in the game made the issue moot as the Sabres fell 3-1.

Ottawa started the scoring early — just 30 seconds into the game with a Kyle Turris wrist shot. Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone Assisted. At 10:49 of the second period, the same three combined for another goal, with Turris again notching the goal.

Eichel brought the Sabres fans back to life at 9:11 of the third period, assisted by Marcus Foligno and Kane. Shortly thereafter, the Kane goal was called back. Then Lazar scored the third Ottawa goal at 18:56.

NOTES:

  • Nine players made their Sabres debuts tonight: Carlo Colaiacovo, Jack Eichel, Cody Franson, Chad Johnson, Evander Kane, David Legwand, Robin Lehner, Jamie McGinn, Ryan O'Reilly
  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this the most players the Sabres have ever had make their debuts in a season-opener and the most since seven did so in 1986-87 (Christian Ruuttu, Clark Gillies, Jim Korn, Ken Priestlay, Scott Arniel, Shawn Anderson, Wilf Paiement).
  • Eichel became the eighth 18-year-old ever to dress for the Sabres and the fifth to do so in a season-opener. The Sabres have not had an 18-year-old in the opening day lineup in four straight seasons (2014-15: Sam Reinhart; 2013-14: Rasmus Ristolainen; 2012-13: Mikhail Grigorenko).
  • With his goal, Eichel became the second-youngest player in Sabres history to score in his debut and the youngest player ever to score in a Sabres season-opener.
  • The Sabres have now had a newly acquired player score in four of the last five season-openers (2013-14: Zemgus Girgensons, 2012-13: Steve Ott, 2011-12: Ville Leino).
  • Starting goaltender Robin Lehner left tonight's game with a lower-body injury.
  • With the loss, the Sabres fell to 24-17-4 in season-openers and 10-7-1 all-time in the team's first game with a new head coach.
  • An explanation of the coach's challenge that overturned the Sabres' second goal can be found here: http://www.nhl.com/ice/blogpost.htm?id=41758
  • Tonight's Attendance: 19,070


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