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game preview

Sabres at Oilers preview

Ullmark starts in goal for Buffalo; Nugent-Hopkins, Kassian back for Edmonton

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

SABRES (13-11-6) at OILERS (18-10-3)

8 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN, MSG-B, NHL.TV

 

The Game

Forwards Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zack Kassian will be in the lineup for the Edmonton Oilers when they host the Buffalo Sabres at Rogers Place on Sunday.

Nugent-Hopkins missed the past six games with a hand injury and Kassian has been out for three games with a back injury.

Edmonton is 2-3-0 in its past five games and is one point ahead of the Arizona Coyotes for first place in the Pacific Division.

Goalie Mike Smith will start for Edmonton.

Buffalo is playing the second game of a back-to-back. They lost 6-5 in overtime at the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.

Buffalo is 3-2-3 in its past eight games and is playing the final of a three-game Western Canada road trip.

Sabres coach Ralph Krueger returns to Edmonton for the first time since being fired by the Oilers following the 2012-13 season.

Goalie Linus Ullmark will start for Buffalo.

 

Players to watch

Sabres center Jack Eichel has 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in an NHL career-high 12-game point streak. It's the longest active streak in the NHL and longest point streak by a Buffalo player since Tim Connolly had a 16-game streak in 2009-10.

Oilers center Connor McDavid has 29 points (13 goals 16 assists) in his past 16 games and is second in NHL scoring with 52 points (19 goals, 33 assists). 

 

They said it

"I had some much growth while I was here in Edmonton. Those three years opened my coaching to the National Hockey League and showed what it takes to be successful here; the accountability you need to bring and the game intelligence you need to have as a head coach to function on a day-to-day basis. I'm really grateful for that." -- Sabres coach Ralph Krueger 

"We need to get on a streak, it's important for us to put together a string here to make sure we stay on top of the division." -- Oilers forward Zack Kassian 

 

Sabres projected lineup

Victor Olofsson -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart 

Jeff Skinner -- Marcus Johansson -- Rasmus Asplund 

Jimmy Vesey -- Casey Mittelstadt -- Conor Sheary 

Zemgus Girgensons -- Johan Larsson -- Kyle Okposo 

Brandon Montour -- Rasmus Ristolainen 

Marco Scandella -- Henri Jokiharju 

Jake McCabe -- Zach Bogosian

Linus Ullmark 

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Colin Miller, Evan Rodrigues

Injured: Matt Hunwick (neck), Vladimir Sobotka (knee), Tage Thompson (upper body), Rasmus Dahlin (concussion)

 

Oilers projected lineup

Leon Draisaitl -- Connor McDavid -- Zack Kassian 

Jujhar Khaira -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- James Neal 

Joakim Nygard -- Gaetan Haas -- Alex Chiasson

Markus Granlund -- Riley Sheahan -- Josh Archibald 

Darnell Nurse -- Ethan Bear

Oscar Klefbom -- Joel Persson 

Kris Russell -- Adam Larsson

Mike Smith

Mikko Koskinen

Scratched: Brandon Manning, Sam Gagner, Patrick Russell

Injured: Matt Benning (head)

 

Status report

Buffalo did not have a morning skate after playing in Vancouver on Saturday. … McDavid and Draisaitl will be back on the top line together after playing apart for the past three games because of the injury to Kassian. … Nugent-Hopkins was activated from injured reserve and Colby Cave was reassigned to Bakersfield of the AHL to make room in the lineup.

 

Stat pack

Eichel, the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, has eight points (four goals, four assists) in six games against McDavid, the No. 1 pick in 2015. McDavid also has eight points (three goals, five assists). … Draisaitl has five points (three goals, two assists) in a three-game point streak. He leads the NHL with 53 points (19 goals, 34 assists).
 

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