|Eichel aims to extend streak as Sabres host Predators|
Captain Jack Eichel will attempt to match Patrick Kane for the NHL's longest point streak of the season on Thursday when the Buffalo Sabres host the Nashville Predators.
Eichel extended his career-high point streak to 14 games by scoring the eventual winning goal 5:46 into the third period of Tuesday's 5-2 victory over St. Louis. The NHL's Third Star of the Week sealed the win by tallying into the empty net, boosting his point total to 25 (12 goals, 13 assists) since his 14-game point streak began with a career-best four-goal performance against Ottawa on Nov. 16.
Eichel has reached the 20-goal plateau in just his 32nd game this season, putting him on pace to become the Sabres' first 50-goal scorer since Alexander Mogilny (76) and Pat Lafontaine (53) accomplished the feat during the 1992-93 campaign.
The 23-year-old Eichel isn't one to speak glowingly on his own accomplishments, however. With that in mind, the former Hobey Baker Award winner's post-game interview quickly shifted to the team getting acclimated to coach Ralph Krueger's systems and expectations while it ascends in the standings.
"I think we're starting to form an identity of our group and I think with the confidence Ralph has instilled in us and the way he wants us to play, it's evident the way we need to play every night to give ourselves a chance to win," Eichel said, per the Buffalo News.
The Sabres have collected at least a point in seven of their last eight games (4-1-3) to move into second place in the Atlantic Division.
"They're keeping it really simple," Krueger said, per the Buffalo News. "How much have we spoken about small picture, constant improvement? That's it. Real simple processes. To get there on a daily basis in this league is really difficult."
Rookie Victor Olofsson recorded his fourth multi-point performance in five games with two assists versus the Blues. He has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in his last 17 contests while linemate Sam Reinhart has 14 (seven goals, seven assists) in that same stretch.
Like Buffalo, Nashville also secured at least a point in seven of its last eight games (5-1-2) after skating to a 3-1 victory over slumping San Jose on Tuesday.
While appreciative of the current hot streak, Predators captain Roman Josi told reporters that more is needed if the club is going to punch its ticket to the playoffs for a sixth straight season. Nashville resides in fifth place in the Central Division.
"It's something we talked about," Josi said. "We are obviously not happy with where we are in the standings, and we need to put together some wins. We've done a good job lately."
Nick Bonino scored in his second consecutive contest on Tuesday to boost his team-leading goal total to 12.
"Obviously the scoring this year is great, but there's so many little things (Bonino) does," Josi said. "Every time he's out there, you know he's doing his job. He wins faceoffs, he's great defensively, he's great offensively. He kind of does it all for us."
Ryan Johansen, who also scored on Tuesday, netted the go-ahead goal in the third period of Nashville's 3-2 victory in Buffalo on April 2. The 27-year-old has recorded 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in 15 career encounters with the Sabres.
The Predators have won four of the last five meetings between the teams, with three of those victories coming via a one-goal margin.
--Field Level Media