Buffalo’s Jack Eichel missed his first game as a rookie Saturday at Toronto because of an illness.
Unfortunately for the Carolina Hurricanes, he’s healthy again and ready to play Tuesday.
Eichel, the No. 2 pick of last year’s NHL draft, has 22 goals this season. Three have come in the Sabres’ two games against the Canes and two were game-winners.
Eichel scored twice in the Sabres’ 3-2 overtime win earlier this month, when he beat Canes goalie Cam Ward and just beat the clock with a last-second winner.
“That was a poised play by a young guy,” Canes coach Bill Peters said Tuesday.
Eichel’s overtime score came after Evander Kane flipped the puck high and out of the Buffalo zone to Eichel, who was in the clear as the final seconds ticked off.
“The flip-and-run play,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said Tuesday.
The Sabres won the first game against Carolina 4-1 on Nov. 27.
“They were two tighter games,” Bylsma said. “They’re playing a tight defensive game. They’re a hard team to play against with the speed that they defend with. They’re adding some young, fresh legs back on the defense and they’re tough to deal with. It’s been a patient game against them.”
— Derek Ryan, called off the Charlotte Checkers’ extended road trip, will play his third NHL game Tuesday.
Ryan, 29, scored his first NHL goal during his first NHL recall, making his debut March 1 against New Jersey. Sent back to Charlotte after two games, he was recalled Monday, was at Tuesday’s morning skate and will center a line with Chris Terry and Riley Nash.
“He deserves another look,” Peters said. “I expect him to generate some offense.”
The other lines Tuesday had Jordan Staal at center with Joakim Nordstrom and Elias Lindholm, Victor Rask centering Jeff Skinner and Phil Di Giuseppe and Jay McClement at center with Brad Malone and Nathan Gerbe.
Defenseman Justin Faulk, who has missed 17 of the past 18 games with a leg injury, was at the morning skate but again was wearing a yellow, no-contact jersey. The defensive pairs were Jaccob Slavin-Ron Hainsey, Noah Hanifin-Brett Pesce and Michal Jordan-Ryan Murphy.
Ward will make his second straight start in net and is 11-9-5 in his career against the Sabres.
“We need to score,” Peters said. “We haven’t scored a whole bunch here recently.”
The Canes have scored seven goals in the last four games (0-1-3).
— It’s not clear whether Eichel had flu-like symptoms in Toronto or food poisoning. Either way, he sat out the Sabres’ 4-1 loss to the Leafs. …
The Canes are 1-2-2 in the last five games against the Sabres over the last two seasons, but 10-5-4 in the last 19 games. Carolina has won five of the last six at PNC Arena. …
Bylsma always enjoys returning to PNC Arena. He has been known to have a barbecue sandwich, or two, before games.