BOSTON – The Buffalo Sabres won the game, but lost their star. At least for the night.
The Sabres rode a strong second period with goals from Evander Kane, Scott Wilson and Benoit Pouliot for a 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins in TD Garden. It was the second straight win for the Sabres and ended a four-game winning streak for the Bruins.
But the win came at a cost as Jack Eichel left the game with 6:52 left in the first period. Eichel went behind the net to play the puck, but his right leg folded awkwardly underneath him as Matt Grzelcyk closed in. Eichel could not put weight on his right leg as he skated off into the dressing room.
He did not return. Coach Phil Housley said afterward that the Sabres would know more once Eichel saw the team doctors when the team returned to Buffalo. Asked if the injury could be serious, Housley said, "We'll have to re-evaluate it tomorrow."
Early lead: The Sabres took a 1-0 lead with 12:18 left in the second period. Sam Reinhart corralled a giveaway by David Pastrnak at the Sabres blue line. He fed a streaking Evander Kane for a breakaway and Kane buried his opportunity.
Ending his drought: It was the first goal for Kane since he scored in Minnesota on Jan. 4. That ended a 14-game stretch without a goal and a 10-game stretch without a point.
Sam stays hot: The assist on Kane's goal gave Reinhart 14 points in his last 11 games on four goals and 10 assists.
A 2-0 lead: The Sabres made it 2-0 on a goal by Scott Wilson with 7:16 left in the second. Nathan Beaulieu had a shot from the blue line that was blocked in front of the net by Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid. Wilson was in the high slot and able to get the puck and fire it past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.
Bruins on the board: Boston got on the board with 5:21 left in the second as Jake Debrusk rushed down the right side into the Sabres zone. Casey Nelson didn't pick up Ryan Spooner, who was streaking to the net and tapped in a pass from Debrusk past Sabres goalie Chad Johnson.
Unlikely suspects: The Sabres broke out of their own zone, working close to a 3-on-1 before some Bruins got back. But it wasn't enough defense as Scott Wilson fed Benoit Pouliot who rifled a shot past Rask for a 3-1 Sabres lead with 1:11 left in the second. For Wilson, the assist gave him his third career multi-point game.
Late goal: The Bruins cut it to 3-2 with 59 seconds left in the game when, with the extra attacker, David Backes tipped the puck past Johnson.
Empty-netter: Rasmus Ristolainen sent the puck the length of the ice with 28.2 seconds left to score the empty netter and seal the win for the Sabres.
Scoreless first: It was a 0-0 first period. While the Bruins carried play for much of the first 20 minutes, Buffalo's defense was active and registered six blocked shots with a healthy dose of deflections as well. Johnson was strong, turning back seven shots including some excellent scoring chances on sustained pressure by the Bruins in the closing minutes of the period.
The streak ends: Rask saw his streak of 21 straight starts with earning a point end in the loss to the Sabres. Rask had gone 19-0-2 in that span, a career-best point streak and the longest by a Bruins goalie since Pete Peeters had a 31-game point stretch in the 1982-83 season (26-0-5).
Milestone: Jacob Josefson played in his 300th NHL game Saturday. The 26-year-old native of Stockholm, Sweden was a first-round draft pick of the New Jersey Devils in 2009 and played his first seven NHL seasons in the Devils organization. In 23 games for the Sabres this season he has two goals and two assists.
Scratches: Defenseman Josh Gorges was a healthy scratch for the Sabres while Zemgus Girgensons was out with an illness. Boston scratched defensemen Paul Postma and Kevan Miller and center Frank Vatrano.
Counting the house: The TD Garden sellout streak reached 367 regular season and playoff games on Saturday with 17,565 in attendance.
Up next: The Sabres turn around and return to Buffalo to host the Colorado Avalanche at 7 p.m. Sunday, playing four of their next five games in KeyBank Center. The Sabres host Tampa Bay at 7 p.m. Tuesday, then travel to Ottawa to play the Senators on Thursday. The Sabres return home to host Los Angeles at 1 p.m., Feb. 17 and Washington at 3 p.m., Monday, Feb. 19.