Jack Eichel and Sidney Crosby have something in common.
They're both in the midst of a goal-scoring drought.
While it's reached eight games for Eichel, in his third season with the Sabres, it has stretched to 11 games for Crosby, the veteran of the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
Crosby last scored Oct. 20 against the Florida Panthers.
The 11-game stretch is the second longest of Crosby's career, second only to a 12-game stretch in the 2011-12 season. That lasted from Nov. 23 to March 29 and included Crosby missing 40 games with a concussion.
Crosby, of course, isn't stressing about the goal drought.
"There's been some chances there, some posts, things like that,” Crosby told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette when the skid hit nine games. “But still I’d like to generate a little bit more.”
His teammates aren't stressing too much either.
"He’s our best player,” Patric Hornqvist said in the Post-Gazette story. “He shows up every single night. If he’s not on the point sheet, he’s blocking shots and winning key faceoffs. He can do all those things. That’s why he’s the best player in the world.”
While Crosby has five goals, Phil Kessel has emerged as one of Pittsburgh's most consistent players. Kessel has seven goals and 15 assists to lead the Pens in scoring.
"We’ve liked a lot of Phil’s game this year,” Pens coach Mike Sullivan told the Pittsburgh media. “I think a lot of it has to do with the approach that he took coming into training camp and the effort that he put in to training camp to put himself in this position. He’s playing strong hockey for us.”
Fun fact: The Pittsburgh Penguins are 5-0-1 at home this season. The Pens and New York Islanders are the only two teams in the NHL yet to lose in regulation at home.
The Sabres, meanwhile, are 3-5-2 on the road.
The Sabres practiced in KeyBank Center on Monday morning before flying to Pittsburgh. The lines were:
Evander Kane-Jack Eichel-Sam Reinhart
Benoit Pouliot-Ryan O'Reilly-Kyle Okposo
Matt Moulson-Johann Larsson-Jason Pominville
Jordan Nolan-Zemgus Girgensons-Nick Baptiste
So it looks like the line of Kane-Eichel-Reinhart will be staying together. At least for another game. The trio, who played together at times last season and seemed to have some chemistry, were reunited for the first time this season in the Sabres 2-1 overtime loss at Montreal on Saturday.
"I think the first couple shifts, we really liked our possession through the neutral zone, creating, and the opportunities were there," Reinhart said. "To get a practice under our belt to continue building with each other. I know I'm excited. I know they're excited to get the opportunity. It's been a while for us so hopefully we can get familiar with each other as soon as possible."
Defensive pairings were:
Jake McCabe-Taylor Fedun
Victor Antipin-Justin Falk
Josh Gorges-Nathan Beaulieu
Marco Scandella did not practice on Monday.
"Marco was feeling a little bit under the weather so we just told him to stay home," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "I anticipate him being in the game tomorrow but we'll see tomorrow."
In other injury news, Housley said Alexander Nylander had been skating with the Rochester Americans and confirmed that the forward did not undergo surgery. There still is no timetable for his return.
The Sabres assigned forward Justin Bailey to Rochester on Monday afternoon. Bailey had missed five games with a lower body injury and was on the Sabres injured reserve list. Bailey has played in seven games for the Sabres this season with two goals and one assist.