As the ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres and the AHL's Rochester Americans, the Jackals are tasked with developing prospects throughout the organization. The Road to the Show provides details on how those prospects are progressing.
Buffalo Sabres (NHL) – Buffalo had an up and down week, losing their first two games, but responding with two big wins to close out the week. The Sabres took a four-game point streak into their Tuesday night tilt with the Panthers, but were defeated by the Atlantic Division leading Panthers, 7-4. Young Sam Reinhart scored two power play goals for the Sabres to bring Buffalo within two, after a disastrous first period, but the Sabres would get no closer. Reinhart now has 17 goals on the season, which ties him for the team lead. The second overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft now has four goals in his last six games. Evander Kane and Mike Weber would add third period goals for the Sabres, but Buffalo was unable to make a real dent in the Florida lead. In addition to his goal, Evander Kane engaged in three fights against Alex Petrovic, the first time since 2002 that two players fought each other three times in one game.
If Tuesday night was disappointing, Thursday night was even more so. The Sabres outshot the Philadelphia Flyers, 42-28, but were outscored 5-1. Steve Mason made 41 saves, and only Jamie McGinn was able to score for Buffalo, long after the issue had been decided. For the Flyers, Shayne Gostibehere, a college teammate of Jackal forward, Mark Bennett, recorded a point in his tenth straight game, the longest point streak for a rookie defenseman in the NHL since the 1977-78 season. For the Sabres, Justin Bailey made his NHL debut, recording seven shots on goal in the loss, which tied for second on the team.
Buffalo responded to one of their worst losses of the season with an offensive explosion against the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night, which resulted in a season-high six goals. After an early tally by Montreal, the Sabres responded with four straight tallies, the third of which chased Ben Scrivens from the crease. David Legwand, Evander Kane, Josh Gorges, and Marcus Foligno scored the goals for the Sabres. After the Habs closed to within one during a wild second period, Marcus Foligno scored his second of the night, this one on a penalty shot. With his two goals, and one assist, Foligno enjoyed the first three-point game of his career. Evander Kane’s empty netter gave him a two-goal game as well, while Chad Johnson made 26 saves to earn the win.
On Sunday afternoon, the Sabres won their second straight game, 4-1 over the Colorado Avalanche. Jack Eichel scored his seventeenth goal of the year, which ties him for the team lead, on Buffalo’s first shot of the game. Evander Kane gave the Sabres a 2-0 on Buffalo’s next shot, which also chased an opposing goalie for the second straight game, this time, the ineffective, Semyon Varlamov. While Calvin Pickard was far better in net for the Avs, he could not stop Sam Reinhart from giving the Sabres a 3-0 lead before the first period was over. From there, it became the Robin Lehner show, as the young, Swedish netminder rebounded from a few rough games earlier in the week, stopping 34 of 35 Colorado shots. Ryan O’Reilly recorded two assists against his former team, which gives him a team-leading 32 on the year. After the up and down week, the Sabres remain in seventh place in the Atlantic Division with 52 points, and a 23-28-6 record.
Rochester Americans (AHL) – The continuing inconsistency from the Americans was on full display last weekend. On the heels of back-to-back wins, and winners of five of their last seven, Rochester lost three games in as many days, managing only two goals the entire weekend. The weekend began with a tough, 1-0 loss at home, on Friday night, at the hands of the Albany Devils. The lone goal of the game was scored by Mike Sislo, shorthanded, in the third period. Linus Ullmark made 27 saves on 28 shots, but was bested by Yann Danis, who stopped all 22 shots taken by the Amerks.
The following night, in Albany, was much the same. This time, the Amerks managed to get 26 shots on Ken Appleby, recently of the Adirondack Thunder, but he turned them all aside to earn his first AHL victory and shutout. Nathan Lieuwen stopped 23 of 26 shots for Rochester, but the Americans fell, 3-0. Justin Kea played in his second game of the weekend for Rochester, recording his seventh fighting major of the year for the Americans. The fight was not out of place, as the hatred between the in-state rivals boiled over in a game, which featured 106 combined penalty minutes, three fights, four unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, and two game misconducts.
On Sunday afternoon, the Americans were finally able to find the back of the net, but they fell in Hartford, 4-2. Rochester put 33 shots on goal, but Magnus Hellberg stopped 31 of them. Meanwhile, Hartford was able to get three of 19 shots past Linus Ullmark to earn the win for the Wolfpack. William Carrier and Evan Rodrigues scored goals for Rochester, which briefly tied the game, late in the third period. Less than a minute later, however, Travis Oleksuk gave the Wolfpack a lead that they would not relinquish. Allan McPherson played for the Amerks following his recall from Elmira, taking a double minor for high sticking in the contest. Following the dismal week, Rochester has fallen back into fifth place in the North Division of the Eastern Conference with a points percentage of 0.490, 49 points, and a 23-24-2-1 record.