Kane, Eichel form 'killer' combination for Sabres - The Buffalo News

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Kane, Eichel form 'killer' combination for Sabres

DALLAS – It's rare to get a two-on-zero breakaway. Rarer still is for it to happen while a team is short-handed.

The Sabres want opposing power plays to know it can happen to them – especially when Phil Housley throws his most gifted offensive players onto the ice.

While the Buffalo coach typically employs defensive-minded forwards on his short-handed unit, he finds spots to put Evander Kane and Jack Eichel in the mix. It's paying off.

Kane scored his NHL-best third short-handed goal of the season during Thursday's 5-4 win in Arizona. The Sabres had only three short-handed goals as a team last year.

Eichel earned his second short-handed assist, which is tied for the league lead with New Jersey's Adam Henrique and Florida's Derek MacKenzie.

"They're very deadly," Housley said of his playmakers. "They do a terrific job. The other team has to be aware of that because if they get an opportunity they don't need many. They've been converting on them."

The latest goal was an easy one. Coyotes defenseman Jason Demers wiped out at the blue line, and Kane and Eichel took off on a two-on-zero. Goaltender Antti Raanta never had a chance as Kane fed Eichel, who gave the puck back to Kane.

The goal came during the only short-handed shift of the night for Kane and Eichel. Housley uses them sparingly. The duo is tied for 14th on the team in short-handed ice time at 52 seconds per game, but they make the most of it.

While Kane has killed penalties in the past – he averaged 1:18 per game last season – this is Eichel's first extended opportunity. With the early success, it will certainly continue.

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