It was clear that last night’s 7-4 victory in Buffalo was an emotional game not just for Jack Eichel but the entire Golden Knights locker room. Realistically, the team could have been caught looking forward to their flight home, but Vegas came out like it was the biggest game on the road trip. From the comments by the players after the game, it sure seemed like it.
He’s one of the more impressive teammates I’ve ever played with, if not the best player I’ve ever played with. It’s all about support in this locker room. Everybody supporting each other and I couldn’t be happier for the guy, he deserves it. -Mark Stone
We noted earlier this month that the long Eastern Conference road trip could help grow an already healthy team chemistry and it showed against the Sabres. Sure, OT winners in Washington and Toronto should be considered taxing victories but neither felt as important as the contest up in Northern New York. From the players to the coach, anyone in white and gold was emotionally invested in shutting up the heckling fans in Buffalo. Bench boss Bruce Cassidy made his declaration on the intense, revenge game when he spoke with ESPN in the 1st period.
The puck has found Jack a couple of times in great spots, hopefully he buries one. -Bruce Cassidy, on ESPN broadcast
Eichel’s retribution was important to him but possibly even more to his teammates. Leaving Buffalo with two points was the club’s only mission and they were well prepared for a passionate battle against the Sabres. Last night could have been the loudest confirmation of how strong the bond is in the 13-2-0 Golden Knights locker room. Unbeaten in nine straight games, five on an eleven-day road trip and finishing with a statement win in Buffalo is exactly how a tight group travels back home.
No one likes to see a teammate get booed, right? I’ll say it as simple as I can, it hurts everybody. Especially with a close-knit team, so we’re happy for him. -Cassidy
Never has a group shown more team chemistry than the Golden Knights did yesterday against the Sabres. Through 15 games, Vegas is proving to be one of the most complete teams in the NHL. Of course, an .867 points percentage will help keep a locker room happy and at ease. Rewind to last season, do you ever remember the 2021-22 having this fun or success? However, fans should expect the bond of the 2022-23 Golden Knights continue to build each time Vegas takes the ice.
Three goals and an assist in a game like that where the crowd’s on you like that, I mean, that’s one of the more impressive performances that I’ve ever seen. -Stone
Of course, money isn’t a motivational factor for most NHL players, but ESPN’s Ryan Callahan noted Eichel had “painted the board” in VGK’s locker room. Usually, when a player faces his old team, he will put ‘money on the board’ for the game-winning goal scorer. It’s possible after the way he performed, Eichel took back his own donation.