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Preview: Oilers vs. Sabres Game 28

Anders Nilsson is stopping almost everything in sight.
Anders Nilsson is stopping almost everything in sight.
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

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11-12-3, 25 points, .962 p/g Ranks 10-15-2, 22 points, .815 p/g
Eastern Conference - 13th Western Conference - 14th
23rd P/G 27th
17th ST 18th
19th S/G 22nd
16th Goal 27th
TV - Sportsnet
Radio - 630 CHED
Rexall Place
The opposing view: Die By The Blade

Nilsson Steals Two Points, "Soft Skill" Appears In OT

Anders Nilsson turned aside 42 of 43 shots and Jordan Eberle scored the game winner in overtime as the Oilers survived Dallas.  Taylor Hall scored his tenth goal of the season with about five minutes remaining in the first period to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead.  Nilsson remained perfect until Stars forward Mattias Janmark scored his fifth goal of the season with less than ninety seconds remaining in the second to tie it up.  The Stars outshot the Oilers 15-4 in the third period, but Nilsson stood tall beween the pipes for Edmonton to force OT.

Then, this happened.

The term "soft skill" has been linked to Jordan Eberle's name over the past week, and it had to feel pretty good for Eberle to get his fourth goal of the year in such dramatic fashion.  The Stars handily outplayed the Oilers this game, but it was the Oilers who would walk away with two points.

The Oilers will try to make it three in a row today as Jack Eichel and the Buffalo Sabres visit RX1.  Let's go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

"I got to see some of their game from (Friday) night...They are a team that's in transition.  They've done a very good job at restocking their team and putting a foundation in place.  Their players have bought in and they're winning some games.  They're a hard team to play against right now.  I can see some graduation in individuals that are young players now turning into old ones."


That's Oilers head coach Todd McLellan on Buffalo's maturation process.

The Sabres are winners of three straight.  They're doing it with a much improved offence with players like Ryan O'Reilly (8-13-21 in 26 GP), defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen (4-14-18 in 26) and 2015 second overall pick Jack Eichel (8-5-13 in 26 GP). They're getting fair numbers from goaltenders Chad Johnson (.912 SV% in 17 GP) and Linus Ullmark (.916 SV in 11 GP) in lieu of Robin Lehner, who has been out with an ankle injury since the first game of the season.

The opponents are saying

"It's been a few years since i've had a game up here...I'm excited for the opportunity and hopefully I'll get in one of these games on this road trip"

That's Sabres forward Cal O'Reilly on getting called up for Buffalo's west coast trip.

Cal O'Reilly is the brother of Sabres star forward Ryan O'Reilly.  Cal's last call up to the big leagues was in February of 2012 for the Penguins, a team that now-Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma then coached.  Cal O'Reilly leads Rochester (AHL) in scoring with fourteen points (3-11-14) in 21 games.

Have some of this
  • "SOFT SKILL" HITS PAYDIRT - Jordan Eberle has just four points in fourteen games this season, but folks seem to forget these sorts of things when you score game winners in OT.  Eberle's performance so far has been underwhelming, but let's not push him out of the door just yet.
  • THE OILERS ARE ON A TWO GAME WINNING STREAK - Break out the bubbly.  It's winning time again. The Oilers are 10-15-2 on the season, so perhaps the expensive champagne can wait.  The Oilers will do wonders for themselves if they can extend their streak to three and put away a Buffalo team that's playing for a Bettman .500 on the year.  Winning cures all ailments.  Even if you're getting killed on the shot clock.
  • Anders Nilsson (7-7-1, .921 SV% / 2.52 GAA) will start for Edmonton again, as he should.  Nilsson stood on his head in Edmonton's victory against Dallas where he shook 42 of 43 Dallas shots.  It's Nilsson's ball right now, and we'll see how far he runs with it.  The Sabres are likely to counter with Chad Johnson (7-7-1 .912 SV% / 2.35 GAA), but don't rule out Linus Ullmark (4-5-2, .916 SV% / 2.64 GAA) as well.  Don't rule out Linus Omark, either.  You can never rule out Omark.
  • Connor McDavid (clavicle),  Nail Yakupov (ankle) and Benoit Pouliot (lower body) will be missing from action tonight.  For Buffalo, Tyler Ennis (upper body), Mark Pysyk (lower body) Mike Weber (knee) Cody McCormick (leg) and goaltender Robin Lehner (ankle) will miss tonight's matchup.