Edmonton Oilers (33-23-4, 3rd, Pacific)
Buffalo Sabres (20-32-8, 6th, Atlantic)
17 March 2022
7 PM MT
TV: Sportsnet West
Radio: 630 CHED
The Oilers survived a wild one over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night. An early Oiler surge had them looking fine after 20 minutes, but the Red Wings didn’t go away. It was Warren Foegele who would end up with the eventual game winner, and Evander Kane added an empty net goal for good measure to give the Oilers a 7-5 win. Now the sole occupants of third place in the Pacific, Edmonton will try to add to their season point total and get within two points of the Kings. Can the Oilers keep gaining in the Pacific with their fourth win in a row?
Let’s go to the tape.
THE OILERS ARE SAYING
“Part of the game plan was to come out hard, and I think we’ve done that on this homestand to assert our game plan on the other team immediately...We accomplished that, but then there was a little bit of a lull, and what was at the root of that lull was a lot of self-inflicted errors, passing through people, turnovers at the offensive blue line, just things that we didn’t demonstrate in the first five minutes”
That’s Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft after his club’s 7-5 win over the Red Wings
Tuesday’s win over Detroit was a tale of two games. Really loved the first four minutes and thirty seconds, the part where Thomas Greiss allowed three goals in six shots. The last 55 minutes were a little bit dicey, but the Oilers held on for two points.
THE SABRES ARE SAYING
“Vinnie’s an awesome guy...Every night he brings it. It’s nice to see him get rewarded for that today, for sure. Good patience there, good play. All I had to do was hit the net. He was great for us tonight. It’s exciting.”
That’s Sabres forward Peyton Krebs on teammate Vinnie Hinostroza’s performance in Sunday’s 5-2 win over the Leafs.
Hinostroza put up four points (1-3-4) in Buffalo’s win, their 20th of the sesaon. Hinostroza has a very good chance of being dealt on or prior to Monday’s trade deadline.
HAVE SOME OF THIS
- GETTING HIM UP AND GOING: Mike Smith (5-8-1, .891 SV% / 3.57 GAA) will get the nod for Edmonton tonight. It’s his first game since a loss to the Canadiens twelve days ago. I think the book is out on Edmonton’s net, but I can’t imagine what a bad outing will do to Ken Holland’s psyche. I still think a goalie like Martin Jones is very much a possibility, though I believe Holland when he says he’s not going to splash the pot. Can’t go all-in every year, right?
- The Oilers waived Tyler Benson yesterday, and I’m really unclear on the concept. We’ll find out in about an hour whether or not he was claimed, but I’m struggling to understand why the Oilers are playing guys like Archibald and Kassian for seven minutes a night. I mean, I think we all know why, but it’s not a very good reason.
- MAKING SPACE: Funny how a three game win streak changes some things. The Oilers own the third space free and clear, for now. They’ve got two games in hand over the Golden Knights, who are winners of just three in their last ten. The Oilers are just four points behind the Kings, something a few more wins might change.
- Tage Thompson has had a breakout season for the Sabres. With 44 points in 56 games (24-20-44), the forward has been ‘found money’ for an offensively challenged Sabres club. Buffalo ranks 25th in the league in goals scored per game, Thompson’s emergence has been a welcome development.
- A win tonight and a Kings loss to SJ will bring the Oilers to just two points of second place. Let’s see the show.