Buffalo Sabres rookie Zach Benson more than made his case to find a spot on the final lineup with a stellar all-around game.
Earlier today, I made my What the Buffalo Sabres Should Look Like lineup “projection” that did not include Zach Benson snagging a spot on the final cut. Then, the 18-year-old showed up and once again, he enjoyed a remarkable outing. One monumental moment came when Benson displayed incredible effort to allow Jeff Skinner’s power play goal at the 9:20 mark of the third period.
As you can see in the video above, Benson sacrificed the body to keep the puck away from the Columbus Blue Jackets penalty kill. He managed to deflect the puck to Jeff Skinner, who drilled it home for the Sabres to tie the lead at three. And if that wasn’t enough, Benson still had one more move in his bag of tricks.
Update: Initially credited with the primary, Benson has since been credited with the secondary assist, as the puck appeared to have also bounced off of Kyle Okposo’s stick before it found its way to Skinner.
Zach Benson helps Buffalo Sabres complete comeback win
Just under five minutes later, Benson struck again when the Sabres found themselves on yet another power play. This time, Kyle Okposo was denied, but Benson was right there to score on the rebound to give the Sabres their first and only lead of the game.
Not only did Benson score the game-winner, but his tenacious style of play was on display all afternoon. Earlier in the game, the Blue and Gold found themselves down 3-0, but Benson’s “never say die” mentality allowed winger Jeff Skinner to give the Sabres their first goal of the afternoon. Benson was down near the crease wreaking havoc in front of the net, giving Skinner a lane to find twine.
Overall, Zach Benson more than made his case to snag a spot on the final roster. Regardless of whether he makes it, we can all agree that the 13th overall pick is, indeed, NHL-ready. He has yet to look out of place as the preseason reaches its latter stages.
(Statistics provided by NHL.com)