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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Buffalo Sabres

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Can Oilers get back to the win column with a visit from struggling Sabres?

Edmonton Oilers v Buffalo Sabres
this game was sweet
Photo by Jen Fuller/Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (21-21-3) (6th, Pacific)

Buffalo Sabres (23-16-6) (5th, Atlantic)

7 PM MST

Rogers Place

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Die By The Blade

The Oilers were unable to put away the Phoenix Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night. It would be Connor McDavid scoring his 27th goal of the year for the Oilers, but Conor Garland (a household name by now) scored twice for the Coyotes en route to a 3-2 regulation victory. The loss puts Edmonton at 45 points in 45 games, they’re right on target to hit 82 points in 82 games. There’s a fair chance that the second wild card position will be a low point total in the Western Conference, but the Oilers have some company to worry about along the way. Anaheim and Vancouver both have 47 points, and Arizona is right behind the Oilers at 43.

The Oilers are winners of three in their last ten. Fortunately for the Oilers, Buffalo has won that exact same number in their last ten. Both teams collide tonight at Rogers Place looking to gain ground in their playoff chases. Can the Oilers get back into the win column against a struggling Eastern squad?

Let’s go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

We’re trying to get more and more from people, and sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t...I just know what it takes to get in, and at the present level it’s not good enough. We’ll have to find a way to get more from this group, and that’s on us to try and see what we can squeeze more out of.

Source

That’s Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock after Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes

Arizona went a perfect 2/2 on their power play chances. The Oilers scored two goals. It’s not enough if the Oilers are planning on playing any hockey into April.

The Sabres are saying

Obviously, we didn’t get the outcome we wanted. I thought there was a lot of good there for us. You’re tied in your own building going into the third. It’s frustrating that it ends like that, but you can’t blame the refs...

Source

That’s Sabres captain Jack Eichel after Buffalo’s 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.

The Sabres held Tampa Bay well enough until defenceman Lawrence Pilut took a late penalty in the third period. Tampa doesn’t miss often.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • SOMEBODY’S GOT TO WIN: Both Edmonton and Buffalo have been struggling as of late, and both teams are currently outside the playoff cut line looking in. Buffalo had a ten game winning streak at once point this season; they’re 3-6-1 in their last ten. Edmonton has had ups and downs, they’re 3-7 in their last ten.
  • Both the Sabres and the Oilers are trying to find ways to put the puck in the net. The Sabres rank 20th in the league in goals per game (2.84) the Oilers aren’t too far off at 24th (2.76). You’d think both teams would be scoring more goals with a dynamic forward on each club, but here we are in 2019 with both teams struggling.
  • Has anyone seen Brandon Manning? Defenceman acquired in the Drake Caggiula trade has appeared in just three game since being acquired three weeks ago. Good thing there’s only one more year on that deal at 2.25MM.
  • NET GAINS: Look for Mikko Koskinen to get the start tonight for the Oilers (12-8-1, .913 SV% / 3 SO). For the Sabres, I expect Carter Hutton (14-13-3, .916 SV% / 2.62 GAA) to get the nod.
  • SICK BAY: Connor McDavid missed the skills competition with the flu yesterday, but it’s expected that he’ll be in the lineup today. Andrej Sekera (ankle), Kailer Yamamoto (hand), Oscar Klefbom (finger) and Alex Petrovic (concussion) are out for the Oilers. Buffalo will be without defenceman Casey Nelson (upper body).