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game preview

Oilers at Sabres preview

Edmonton begins five-game road trip; Buffalo hopes to end losing streak at four

by Heather Engel / Independent Correspondent

OILERS (21-17-4) at SABRES (17-17-7)

7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, SNW, NHL.TV


The Game

The Buffalo Sabres will try to end a four-game losing streak when they play the Edmonton Oilers at KeyBank Center on Thursday.

The Sabres are 1-6-1 in their past eight games and have yet to lose five straight in regulation this season.

The Oilers begin a five-game road trip with each of the first four games against Atlantic Division opponents. Edmonton is 2-4-1 against the division and 3-7-1 in its past 11 games.

Edmonton defenseman Oscar Klefbom will play. He left in the third period of a 7-5 win against the New York Rangers on Tuesday with a lower-body injury sustained blocking a shot.


Players to watch

Oilers center Connor McDavid has five points (two goals, three assists) during a four-game point streak and eight points (three goals, five assists) in eight games against the Sabres.

Sabres center Jack Eichel has a goal and an assist in his past two games and 10 points (five goals, five assists) in eight games against the Oilers.


They said it

"We come into this road trip, we've got five games, it's going to be a real hard trip, a real test for our team. We've got to be a strong defending team, make sure we're taking care of our own end and just play real solid. The structure we want to play with and the work ethic have to be there, and hopefully we can grind out some results." -- Oilers coach Dave Tippett

"They are as strong up the middle maybe as any team we've seen here with McDavid, [Leon] Draisaitl, [Ryan Nugent-Hopkins] and Gaetan Haas. That's a really good group up the middle. We'll see them here and there together or on power play, McDavid and Draisaitl, but I think it's more important to concentrate on our team game." -- Sabres coach Ralph Krueger


Oilers projected lineup

James Neal -- Connor McDavid -- Zack Kassian

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Leon Draisaitl -- Kailer Yamamoto

Joakim Nygard -- Gaetan Haas - Alex Chiasson

Jujhar Khaira -- Riley Sheahan -- Josh Archibald

Oscar Klefbom -- Ethan Bear

Darnell Nurse -- Kris Russell

William Lagesson -- Adam Larsson

Mike Smith

Mikko Koskinen

Scratched: Caleb Jones, Patrick Russell, Alex Chiasson

Injured: Matt Benning (head)


Sabres projected lineup

Victor Olofsson -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Jimmy Vesey -- Marcus Johansson -- Conor Sheary

Zemgus Girgensons -- Johan Larsson -- Kyle Okposo

Curtis Lazar -- Rasmus Asplund

Jake McCabe -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin -- Brandon Montour

Marco Scandella -- Henri Jokiharju

Colin Miller

Linus Ullmark

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Evan Rodrigues, Zach Bogosian

Injured: Jeff Skinner (upper body), Tage Thompson (upper body), Vladimir Sobotka (lower body)


Status report

Miller will play after being scratched against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.


Stat pack

Reinhart is one goal from 100 in the NHL. … The Sabres are 0-for-14 on the power play in their past five games. … Draisaitl has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in his past 14 games. … Neal had a hat trick Tuesday after going four games without scoring a goal.

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