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game recap

Sabres defeat Oilers, end seven-game skid

Hand Edmonton fourth loss in five

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Kyle Okposo had a goal and an assist to help the Buffalo Sabres end a seven-game losing streak with a 3-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers at KeyBank Center on Friday. 

"I think that we did a good job just sticking to our game plan and really every line was playing extremely well in the offensive zone," Okposo said. "Our [defense] did a great job getting the puck up to us and [goalie Robin Lehner] did a great job."

 

[WATCH: All Oilers vs. Sabres highlights]

 

Okposo set up Jacob Josefson for his first goal with the Sabres (6-13-14) at 14:16 of the second period to make it 1-0. Josefson played his second game since missing 15 with a lower-body injury.

"It's good when everybody can contribute a little bit," Josefson said. "It's good for us other guys to chip in, too."

Okposo scored an empty-net goal at 19:09 of the third period that made it 3-0.

It was the Sabres' first win since Nov. 7, when they defeated the Washington Capitals 3-1 at home.

"I thought a lot of guys showed desperation tonight," Sabres center Jack Eichel said. "A guy like Kyle Okposo, obviously, he's been working really hard as of late. It's nice to see him get rewarded with an empty-netter. I thought he played a great game. Those are some key plays he made for us."

The Oilers (8-13-2) have lost four of five games (1-4-0).

"Maybe the urgency was there and we just didn't get it done," Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said. "That's a judgment call. I think it can be better, but if our group thinks that's enough then we're on the short end. Again, I think our guys have the wont to do it. Can we get it done at the pace that we're executing at. We have to make things happen a lot faster, in my opinion, defensively and offensively."

Eichel made it 2-0 with his seventh goal 43 seconds into the third period. He took a shot from the right face-off circle that beat Laurent Brossoit to his glove side.

Video: EDM@BUF: Eichel wires wrister past Brossoit

Eichel has had a point in three straight games and has scored a goal in two straight.

"It's one game, so obviously we need to carry this," he said. "I think seeing the way we could play tonight, I think more than anything it should be a bit of a boost to everyone in the room, a little confidence. When we play the right way, when we do the right things, it's rewarding. Just got to try to find that consistency."

Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, returning after missing nine games with an upper-body injury, had an assist on the goals by Eichel and Okposo.

Yohann Auvitu ended Lehner's bid for a shutout at 19:40 of the third period. Lehner made 29 saves.

Brossoit, starting in place of Cam Talbot (illness), made 28 saves.

Video: EDM@BUF: Auvitu fires slap shot past Lehner

 

Goal of the game

Josefson's goal at 14:16 of the second period.

Video: EDM@BUF: Josefson blasts one-timer past Brossoit

 

Save of the game

Lehner's save against Matt Benning at 5:56 of the third.

Video: EDM@BUF: Lehner denies Benning with great diving save

 

Highlight of the game

Brossoit's save on Reinhart 18 seconds into the third.

Video: EDM@BUF: Brossoit denies Reinhart at the doorstep

 

They said it

"It's a hard league to win in no matter who you're playing. You could be playing the top-ranked team or the worst-ranked team; it's going to be a hard game. It's a hard league to win in and tonight they were a better hockey team." -- Oilers captain Connor McDavid

 

"I thought it was a great response. This team's been through a lot in the short past here. There's been a lot of challenges and a lot of conversations. It was time to put things into action. I thought the guys responded well. They came out, it was a really good start to the first period, I thought everybody played well tonight. I can't really think of anybody that didn't contribute, and that's what we need as a team." -- Sabres coach Phil Housley

 

Need to know

Two of Auvitu's three NHL goals have come against Buffalo. … Ristolainen has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in eight games against Edmonton.

 

What's next

Oilers: At the Boston Bruins on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS, NESN, NHL.TV)

Sabres: At the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Okposo, Lehner lead Sabres past Oilers, 3-1

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