The Edmonton Oilers were at home on Thursday night to take on the Buffalo Sabres. The Oilers were coming in on a three-game win streak, most recently against the Detroit Red Wings, and the Sabres came in fresh off a win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Heritage Classic.
Edmonton rolled out this lineup:
Most notably, Jesse Puljuljarvi and Kris Russell were activated from injured reserve ahead of this matchup with Buffalo (Broberg, Benson sent down in corresponding moves). Also, Mike Smith was in the starter’s position for the first time in weeks. He’s missed 39 games this season with injury or illness, though when he has played, has been extremely uneven posting 3.57 GAA, .891 SV% and a 5-8-1 record thus far. The goalies in this game are a combined 79 years old.
After a slow start, Kailer Yamamoto blasts home a shot short-side, beating Craig Anderson. Ceci and McDavid with the helpers and Yamamoto has scored in four straight games. 1-0 Oilers.
Connor McDavid, buzzing early, dangles through the Buffalo Sabres and pounces on a loose puck to make it 2-0. His fourth straight multi-point game.
Potentially one of the best Oiler periods of the season, and it could have easily been 5-0. Having Puljuljarvi back has made a huge difference in the top 6. We’ll take the two goal lead going into the break.
McDavid, Yamamoto & Kane in the four games (including tonight so far) since being put together:— Tony Brar (@TonyBrarOTV) March 18, 2022
McDavid: 5G, 3A, 8 PTS
Yamamoto: 4G, 3A, 7 PTS
Kane: 2G, 2A, 4 PTS#Oilers
Early on, Nurse and Dahlin go hard into Mike Smith, with both Nurse and Smith getting up gingerly. They review the play for a potential goal, but no dice for Buffalo.
After busting up a 2 on 0 featuring Kane and McDavid, Rasmus Dahlin called for holding. Jay Woodcroft with the timeout, sensing a chance to put Buffalo away. However, despite the brief strategy session, the best chances came shorthanded to the Sabres.
A dominant first half of the period for Edmonton finally pays off, as Leon Draisaitl powers to the net and jams home his own rebound. 3-0 Oilers and Leon’s 40th goal of the season.
List of Edmonton Oilers with 40 or more goals in a season:
- Gretzky 9x
- Kurri 7x
- Anderson 4x
- Messier and Draisaitl 3x
***McDavid needs six goals to reach 40 for third time.
The Hyman-Draisaitl-Puljuljarvi line hems in the Sabres for more than a minute, and with the Sabres chasing, Darnell Nurse gets his own rebound and pots home the 4-0 goal. Oilers playing a complete game thus far.
Despite the domination, Craig Anderson may have also made one of the best saves of the year as he stoned Zach Hyman with a desperate scorpion-style save.
The shutout bid ends early for Mike Smith, who is late getting to a Victor Olofsson shot. 4-1. Things go from bad to worse for the Oilers, as Cody Ceci is forced to take a tripping penalty after a turnover in the defensive zone.
However, Devin Shore breaks free from Tage Thompson on the penalty kill and rips one home, rebuilding Edmonton’s 4-goal lead. 5-1 Oilers.
Connor McDavid’s (poor) dental luck continues tonight, as he takes a hard high stick from Buffalo’s Hinostroza. Quite visibly upset, he would leave the game for repairs and not return.
On the double minor, Warren Foegele finds Tyson Barrie for his first goal since November. Barrie had extended family in the stands, so had to feel good to get that one. 6-1 Oilers.
That would seal it, and the Oilers take this one over the Sabres 6-1. McDavid, Yamamoto, Hyman, Ceci and Barrie each with two points. Back at it again 1 p.m. MT against the New Jersey Devils and the Oilers will try to lock up their first 5-0 home stand since 1987.