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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers @ Buffalo Sabres

After a big win in Boston, Oilers head to Buffalo looking to take two more points

Detroit Red Wings v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Ben Green/NHLI via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (10-2-0), 1st, Pacific

Buffalo Sabres (5-5-2), 6th, Atlantic

12 November 2021

Key Bank Center

5 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet One, Hulu / ESPN+

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Die By The Blade

The Oilers picked up a satisfying 5-3 victory in Boston last night. The Bruins had two costly errors that resulted in goals for Edmonton, but they all count the same on the scoreboard. Leon Draisaitl had a three point night (2-1-3), Zach Hyman and Evan Bouchard each had a goal, and it was Cody Ceci who had a goal and an assist before leaving late in the game with an ear injury. Mikko Koskinen turned aside 26 shots and was good enough to pick up his eighth win of the season.

The Oilers are right back at it tonight as they travel to Buffalo. The Sabres started hot, but have cooled in recent weeks. Can the Oilers sail to eleven wins on the season?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

There’s lots of things that I think we can clean up, especially in the second period...It says a lot about our group, that we don’t stop, continue to play our way and try to stick with it, even if it’s not pretty. At the same time, I think there’s lots of things we can improve on so we don’t have to score five goals to win every game.

Source

That’s Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl after his club’s 5-3 win over the Bruins.

Entering the third period down 3-2, Leon Draisaitl scored two critical goals to turn the tide in favour of the Oilers. Leon couldn’t have been more right when he said that there are things to improve on, but it’s lots of fun scoring five goals whether you need them or not.

THE SABRES ARE SAYING

“There’s a lot of good things I think that we did...A lot of things to improve, but for the most part we competed pretty darn hard and gave them a lot to handle. There were times when we were pretty dominant in their zone, as they were in the first (period) against us.”

Source

That’s Sabres forward Cody Eakin after his club’s 5-2 loss to the Capitals on Monday night.

The Sabres are playing better under Don Granato’s system compared to their ill-fated time spent with Ralph Krueger, but they continue to score goals after a hot start early in the season.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • FULL VALUE: Last night’s victory over the Bruins felt like a complete victory. The Oilers scored five even strength goals en route to the W, they got two goals from defencemen, and the goaltending was good enough (if not spectacular). Getting goals from the defence is a welcome addition on a night where the Oilers did not score on the power play. The bottom two lines are still truckloads of trouble, but scoring five goals goes a long way in masking some obvious issues. The Bruins had some glaring mistakes in their own end, and the Oilers took full advantage. You’re never going to get everything you want, but 5 goals and a win is almost everything you could ask for.
  • WE KNOW: I had the Bruins feed last night and had to chuckle at the play-by-play crew. They were really enjoying watching Connor McDavid and actually went so far as to say that the Oilers had a legitimate complaint about Connor McDavid not getting the calls he should be getting. It’s not exactly a secret when the Bruins’ play-by-play feed says exactly what we’ve seen for the last six seasons.
  • ENERGY CONSERVATION: The Oilers did not score a power play goal last night in three attempts. Their power play drops to 44% on the season, something that I feel confident in saying will rise tonight should the Oilers be awarded a couple of power plays.
  • THE BOTTOM SIX: Dallas put Blake Comeau on waivers yesterday. He’s on an expiring 1MM deal, he can play both wings and I’d plug him into the bottom six over a couple of players instantly. We’ll find out at noon today if anyone took a flyer on him.
  • The Sabres were red hot to start the season, winning their first three and going 5-1-1 over their first seven games. Since then? They’ve gone 0-4-1. What happened? The Sabres stopped scoring goals, and goaltending went from .950 to .900. The Sabres have a handful of injuries to contend with (trading Jack Eichel for Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs didn’t solve an immediate problem), and you can see why the Sabres have struggled in their last 5.
  • NET GAINS: Stuart Skinner is expected to go tonight for the Oilers (0-1-0, .921 SV% / 3.09 GAA). For the Sabres, Dustin Tokarski (1-3-2, .902 SV% / 3.10 GAA) is likely to start, Aaron Dell would be making his season debut should the Sabres switch it up.
  • SICK BAY: The Oilers are without Zack Kassian (lower body) and Mike Smith (lower body). For the Sabres, goaltender Craig Anderson is day-to-day with an upper body injury. Defenceman Will Butcher is day-to-day, while Henri Jokiharju and Casey Mittlestadt are eliglble to come off IR today. Foward Victor Olofsson is out with an undisclosed injury and is expected to miss today's game.