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Oilers at Sabres preview

Edmonton tries for third straight win; Buffalo is 2-6-1 in past nine games

by Heather Engel / Correspondent

OILERS (28-30-7) at SABRES (30-27-8)



The Game

The Edmonton Oilers seek their third straight win when they visit the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Monday.

The Oilers, who are 4-1-1 after a five-game losing streak (0-4-1), haven't won three in a row since a four-game winning streak from Dec. 5-11. Edmonton trails the Minnesota Wild by eight points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

The Sabres are 2-6-1 in their past nine games, allowing at least four goals in six of those games, and are nine points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. 


Players to watch

Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl has 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in a 10-game point streak.

Sabres forward Sam Reinhart has nine points (five goals, four assists) in his past nine games and is two points away from 200 in the NHL.


They said it

"The hardest thing to trust is your work and your checking. It's easy to trust your skill … but we're starting to believe that if we check, we can control the hockey game and not just try to do it with our skill." -- Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock

"When you put those two together on one line, they're very dynamic. They drive their engine over there. We're going to have to be aware of when they're on the ice and we're going to have to manage the puck well because they bring a speed element of no other in the NHL." -- Sabres coach Phil Housley on Oilers forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl


Oilers projected lineup

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Connor McDavid -- Zack Kassian

Milan Lucic -- Leon Draisaitl -- Alex Chiasson

Tobias Rieder -- Colby Cave -- Josh Currie

Ty Rattie -- Brad Malone -- Sam Gagner

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Darnell Nurse -- Kris Russell

Andrej Sekera -- Matt Benning

Mikko Koskinen

Anthony Stolarz

Scratched: Kevin Gravel, Alexander Petrovic, Kyle Brodziak

Injured: Jesse Puljujarvi (hip), Jujhar Khaira (lower body)


Sabres projected lineup

Jeff Skinner -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Conor Sheary -- Evan Rodrigues -- Kyle Okposo

Scott Wilson -- Casey Mittelstadt -- Jason Pominville

Zemgus Girgensons -- Johan Larsson -- Tage Thompson

Marco Scandella -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin -- Zach Bogosian

Matt Hunwick -- Brandon Montour

Linus Ullmark

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Casey Nelson

Injured: Vladimir Sobotka (upper body), Jake McCabe (upper body)


Status report

McCabe will be out 5-6 weeks with an upper-body injury sustained in the second period of a 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. … Sobotka, who has missed the past two games, joined the Sabres for the morning skate but did not skate on a line.


Stat pack

Klefbom will play in his 300th NHL game. … Skinner, who hasn't scored in his past eight games, needs one goal to tie his NHL career high of 37 he set with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2016-17. … Okposo is one assist away from 300 in the NHL. … Edmonton has scored four goals in each of its past two games after scoring two or fewer in eight of their past nine games. … McDavid has eight points (two goals, six assists) in a personal five-game point streak. … Sheary has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past three games.

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