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Sport Big injury losses: Sabres’ Olofsson, Islanders’ Pelech

22:55  03 january  2020
22:55  03 january  2020 Source:   nbcsports.com

Eichel out vs. Flyers with upper-body injury, point streak ends at 17 games

  Eichel out vs. Flyers with upper-body injury, point streak ends at 17 games Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel won't get the chance to extend his point streak to 18 games. The 23-year-old pivot won't play in Thursday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers due to an upper-body injury, the team announced. His absence will officially end his point streak at 17 contests, according to Adam Kimelman of NHL.com. Eichel leads the Sabres in both goals (24) and points (50) through 35 games this season, and his 16 goals and 31 points during his streak were both league highs over that span. His run is tied for the second-longest point streak in franchise history behind Hall of Famer Gilbert Perreault's 18-game stretch in 1971-72.

The Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders began 2020 with some tough injuries. The Sabres expect Victor Olofssonto miss five-to-six weeks, while the Islanders lost Adam Pelechto a season-ending injury.

a hockey player on the field© Getty Images

Let’s ponder these losses for each team, and the larger outlook for the Sabres and Isles.

Olofsson injury continues turbulent times for Sabres

Don’t blame Sabres fans if they feel like their heads are spinning right now.

  • Buffalo ended 2019 on a sour note by losing Jeff Skinner for three-to-four weeks. People justifiably call the Sabres top-heavy on a good day, so that smarts.
  • The Sabres busied themselves by essentially tradingMarco Scandella for Michael Frolik on Thursday. Rank that as a win for Buffalo, small or not.
  • Now add the loss of Olofsson for multiple weeks.

Jack Eichel touched on what Olofsson’s absence might mean, as reported by The Athletic’s John Vogl:

Seguin scores in OT, Stars beat Lightning 4-3

  Seguin scores in OT, Stars beat Lightning 4-3 TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Tyler Seguin scored three minutes into overtime, Anton Khudobin stopped 45 shots, and the Dallas Stars beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Thursday night. After Tampa Bay's Tyler Johnson missed a shot from close range, Alexander Radulov passed to Seguin, who skated in from left wing boards and got the winner from the low slot.Dallas also got goals from Radulov, Radek Faksa, and Jason Dickinson. Khudobin stopped Yanni Gourde's shot during a 2-on-none break in the third.Mikhail Sergachev, Alex Killorn and Ondrej Palat scored, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 16 saves for the Lightning.

Olofsson tops all NHL rookies in goals (16) and points (35), leading both categories by four. Olofsson’s Hockey Viz heat maps back up Eichel’s comments about the rookie’s all-around play:

a screenshot of a cell phone© Provided by NBC Sports

The thinning of the Sabres isn’t ideal considering their competition.

The Bruins remain perched atop the Atlantic Division, while the Maple Leafs and Lightning look like they’re back to being scary opponents. The Panthers also have more standings points (47 to Buffalo’s 43) despite Florida playing two fewer games (40 versus the Sabres’ 42 games played). The Metro could produce four or even five playoff teams, so Buffalo faces a perilous path without Olofsson.

Stunning NHL Numbers: Red Wings struggles; Eichel’s point streak

  Stunning NHL Numbers: Red Wings struggles; Eichel’s point streak ProHockeyTalk looks at the tough start to the season for the Red Wings, as well as Jack Eichel's 17-game point streak and the way he has carried the Sabres.We begin this edition of stunning numbers by taking a look at what has been a historically bad start, and one that has them on track for one of the worst seasons in the history of the proud franchise.

Islanders lose Pelech for regular season

The Athletic’s Arthur Staple reports that Pelech’s injury timeline is four months, opening up some possibility of a playoff return. The Islanders currently rank second in the Metro with 53 points, so Pelech’s recovery window could indeed become relevant.

The Islanders stumbled a bit to end 2019 (3-1-4 in their last eight). With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how they handle the loss of a workhorse who ranked second in both time on ice per game (21:08) and penalty kill reps (2:47 per game).

Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello said that “you don’t replace an Adam Pelech at the trade deadline,” according to Staple, so Barry Trotz faces a challenge in dealing with this loss. Pelech is the type of player Trotz adores, especially going by these quotes from Kris Knoblauch, Pelech’s former OHL coach.

“He’s very undervalued and underappreciated,” Knoblauch said back in October, via Staple (sub required). “We relied on him a ton — he was our power-play defenseman, our shutdown guy. There’s a lot of calm to his game now and there was back then, too.”

Can the Islanders continue to insulate their goalies without Pelech? We’ll find out. Either way, the Sabres and Islanders both received some rough injury news on Friday.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Lightning beat Flyers, tie club mark with 10th straight win .
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Pat Maroon scored the game's only goal, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 23 saves and the Tampa Bay Lightning tied a club record with their 10th straight win, 1-0 over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night. The Lightning haven't lost since Dec. 21 at Washington, and have outscored opponents 43-17 during their streak. Tampa Bay has tallied 12 unanswered goals, two short of matching a team mark.They will look to set a club record for consecutive victories on Sunday night at New Jersey.Vasileskiy earned his second straight shutout and the 20th of his career.

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