Jack Eichel raised his arms to celebrate a goal. Then he did it again. And again.
He and the Buffalo Sabres couldn't celebrate at the end, however.
Eichel recorded his first career hat trick Friday night, and it was the first one by the Sabres in KeyBank Center since 2011. Despite the individual dominance, the Sabres suffered a 5-4 overtime loss to Carolina.
Eichel scored during the second period to tie it, 1-1. He notched Nos. 2 and 3 just 10 seconds apart during the third, turning a 4-2 deficit into a 4-4 tie. The hat trick came in his 175th career game.
Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin put a damper on the party, beating goaltender Chad Johnson from the slot with 2:45 left in overtime. The goal came 15 seconds after Carolina netminder Cam Ward stopped Evander Kane on a breakaway.
Thomas Vanek was the last Sabres player to score three goals in Buffalo, torching the Tampa Bay Lightning back on April 5, 2011. Despite the long drought, fans remembered they were allowed to throw hats on the ice. They rained headgear onto the playing surface.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) December 16, 2017
Challenge denied: Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe started a busy third period to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead. He scored his second goal of the season, and for the second time it was challenged by the opposing coach.
Jack Eichel streaked down the right side for a hard shot, and goaltender Cam Ward kicked a long rebound to McCabe on the left side. He fired it home as Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk impeded Ward's ability to play the puck.
Hurricanes coach Bill Peters was hoping Evander Kane was in Ward's way, but the Sabres left winger merely swept Faulk's leg to knock him down in the crease.
McCabe's goal came with 1:20 gone in the third period.
Short-lived lead: The Sabres had the advantage for only 1:40. Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin fired a shot from the point, and center Jordan Staal batted the puck out of the air to tie it.
Short-lived tie: Just 1:03 later, Carolina scored again to take a 3-2 lead. Defenseman Brett Pesce took a shot from the point, and Derek Ryan redirected it with his leg.
Up by two: The Hurricanes made it look easy on a three-on-two. All three skaters touched the puck, and Elias Lindholm finished the play to make it 4-2 with 15:57 remaining.
Two in 10 seconds: Eichel scored with 10:36 to go and 10:26 remaining to quickly pull Buffalo into a 4-4 tie.
Eichel made it 4-3 at the top of the zone when he stopped, moved right and put a shot into the left corner. He tied it from close range at the right side of the net, going around Pesce and easily beating Ward.
Jack Eichel with the 🎩🎩🎩 tonight pic.twitter.com/Q4JslP4vmr
— 🚨SiriusXM NHL Network🏒 (@SiriusXMNHL) December 16, 2017
Open on opening goal: Carolina took a 1-0 lead with 9:44 left in the second. Johnson stopped a slap shot from the blue line by Jordan Staal, but the rebound went directly to Justin Williams in the slot. He easily deposited his wide-open look after leading Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella into net-front traffic.
That was quick: The Sabres needed just 30 seconds to make it 1-1. McCabe's shot from the middle of the blue line caromed off Kane in front. The puck bounced to Eichel at the left side, and the center slipped his ninth of the year past Ward.
It was Eichel's second goal in 10 games.
— NHL (@NHL) December 16, 2017
Scoreless start: The Sabres outshot the Hurricanes, 12-7, during the opening 20 minutes. Neither team could score.
Buffalo had three shots on two power plays.
Changing it up: Coach Phil Housley made multiple moves at forward and defense.
Right wing Hudson Fasching replaced Jordan Nolan on the fourth line with center Johan Larsson and left wing Scott Wilson. The coach also reunited the top line of Jack Eichel between Evander Kane and Jason Pominville. Ryan O'Reilly centered for Zemgus Girgensons and Kyle Okposo. Evan Rodrigues was in the middle of Benoit Pouliot and Sam Reinhart.
Nathan Beaulieu returned to the blue line after missing five games with an illness and skated with Zach Bogosian. Victor Antipin played with Jake McCabe after being scratched for three straight.
Josh Gorges and Justin Falk were the healthy scratches on defense.
Bailey back: The Sabres got good news in Rochester as right wing Justin Bailey returned following an ankle injury. He got hurt with the Sabres on Oct. 28, then played one game for the Amerks on Nov. 18. He had been out since.
History: The game was the 200th between the Sabres and the Carolina/Hartford Whalers franchise. Buffalo had a 102-72-25 record in the first 199 games.
Counting the house: While the Sabres sold 17,610 tickets, it appeared only half that total actually used them.
Not sure what people in Buffalo are doing tonight, but I know what they’re not doing.
Weather aside, it’s clear this edition of the Sabres has not caught the city’s attention. pic.twitter.com/l71hAJfDl6
— John Vogl (@BuffNewsVogl) December 16, 2017
Next: The Sabres have a three-day break before hosting the Boston Bruins on Tuesday. They'll host Philadelphia on Friday and visit Carolina next Saturday before their three-day Christmas break.
Story topics: Justin Bailey