When the Buffalo Sabres were in jeopardy of losing a seventh consecutive game, Jack Eichel delivered.
Eichel, the Sabres' 23-year-old captain, had his first career four-goal game to lift Buffalo to a 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night inside KeyBank Center. Eichel scored on a wrist shot from the left-wing circle with 7:47 remaining in the third period for his first hat trick since Dec. 15, 2017, and he added an empty-netter.
The Sabres (10-6-3) snapped their six-game losing streak and won for the first time since Oct. 25. The Senators (8-11-1), meanwhile, had won two in a row and four of their previous five games.
Eichel has a team-high 12 goals this season and nine in 14 career games against the Senators. Ottawa twice tied the score with goals from Anthony Duclair and Tyler Ennis. Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark made 21 saves, Sam Reinhart recorded multiple points for the third time in four games and Rasmus Dahlin was benched during the third period.
Progress: The Sabres went 0-for-2 on the power play in the first period but showed significant progress with their puck movement, particularly the first unit. Victor Olofsson has a pair of scoring chances in the first period, most notably his one-timer on a quick feed from Reinhart.
Unlike previous games, the Sabres did a better job of getting the puck to the net and appeared less predictable with their structure. Senators goalie Craig Anderson stopped all 13 shots he faced in the first period. Buffalo had 14 more shot attempts than Ottawa in the first 20 minutes.
Rookie treatment: Center Rasmus Asplund, who was recalled prior to practice Friday, made his National Hockey League debut Saturday night against the Senators. Asplund, 21, was forced to skate alone during the first lap in warmups and did not appear out of place when the game began. He centered the top penalty-killing unit and won each of his first two faceoffs.
Captain Jack: Eichel, who had one goal in his previous five games, broke the scoreless tie at 1:28 into the second period when he retrieved a pass from Reinhart and shot over Anderson's glove for a 1-0 lead.
Not-so-special teams: The Sabres' penalty kill was only 5-for-10 in its previous three games and Henri Jokiharu's slashing penalty at 5:09 into the second period gave Ottawa a 50-second 5-on-3. Rasmus Ristolainen, who was penalized for boarding, had just reached the defensive zone when Duclair scored on a one-timer to tie the game, 1-1, at 6:04 into the second period.
Eichel again: The Sabres' captain scored his second of the game and 10th of the season at 9:39 into the second period, when he corralled a pass from Olofsson and beat Anderson with another high shot. With his primary assist, Olofsson extended his point streak to four games. Eichel also has seven career multi-point games against Ottawa, including four in his last five games. This was his seventh multi-point game of the season.
Old friend: Ennis, who played eight seasons with the Sabres, tied the score, 2-2, at 2:01 into the first period when he tipped Ron Hainsey's shot past Linus Ullmark. Ennis had two goals in four career games against Buffalo entering Saturday.
Injury update: Sabres winger Kyle Okposo did not return to the game after suffering an undisclosed injury with 10:35 remaining in the second period. Okposo fell to the ice after colliding with Ron Hainsey and immediately went back to the Sabres' bench.
Pregame: To commemorate Hockey Fights Cancer night, the Sabres wore lavender jerseys during warmups and 50 cancer patients and survivors were on the ice during a pregame ceremony. Andre Sanders, a 4-year-old diagnosed a little over two months ago, dropped the ceremonial faceoff.
Lineup: Center Marcus Johansson (upper body) and center Johan Larsson (upper body) were out for the Sabres. Additionally, forward Vladimir Sobotka (lower body) is out four-to-six weeks. Defensemen Colin Miller and John Gilmour were healthy scratches.
Next: The Sabres will play the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday in United Center at 7 p.m., Eastern.