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Sabres hope to rebound in Edmonton

by Brian Compton /
SABRES (14-18-4) at OILERS (12-16-6)

TV: MSG-Buffalo, SNET-W.

Last 10: Buffalo 4-5-1; Edmonton 4-4-2.

Season Series: This is the lone meeting between the teams. They haven't faced each other since Nov. 11, 2009, when Buffalo beat the Oilers by a 3-1 score at HSBC Arena.

Big Story: It's a tale of two teams trying to climb up the standings before it's too late. Buffalo enters Tuesday's action 10 points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, while Edmonton is 11 back in the ultra-competitive West.

"I think we just continue to be ourselves," Oilers coach Tom Renney said Monday. "I don't think we're dressing anything up here. You know the reality of where we are in the standings and what our team looks like. Our team knows that better than anybody. But we absolutely love the challenge of going out to get wins. That's how we're approaching this."

Team Scope:

Sabres: Buffalo opened its two-game tour of Alberta on Monday night in disappointing fashion as it dropped a 5-2 decision at Calgary. The Sabres were without leading scorer Derek Roy, who tore his quadriceps tendon and is lost for the season, and defenseman Tyler Myers, who is battling the flu.

But nobody in the Sabres' dressing room is looking for excuses.

"We need to win," forward Drew Stafford said. "It's come down to this where we need the points and it starts with (Tuesday) night. We just have to forget about this one and get ready for a big one in Edmonton."

Oilers: Edmonton returned from the holiday break on Sunday and suffered a 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. Ryan O'Marra scored his first NHL goal and the Oilers built a 2-0 lead, but simply couldn't hang on.

"We played really well," said Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert, who injured a thigh in the second period and was limited to five shifts in the third before sitting out the rest of the game. "Obviously, with 24 seconds left, it's a tough loss."

Who's Hot: Sabres forward Jason Pominville has points in three of his last four games and nine in 12 contests, while Drew Stafford has tallies in two of his last three. … Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney has two goals in his last three games and six points in his last four.

Injury Report: Besides Roy, the Sabres will also be without center Tim Connolly, who is out indefinitely after fracturing his nose on Dec. 18. … Oilers center Shawn Horcoff (MCL) is out until February, while Ales Hemsky (groin), Jim Vandermeer (knee) and Gilbert Brule (flu) are day-to-day. 

Stat Pack: With Monday's loss, Buffalo is now 1-5-2 in its last eight road games.

Puck Drop: "It seems like we have 10-minute lapses in games where they kind of not necessarily score, but start swinging the momentum the other way. I think we've got to limit that, limit our turnovers, and really just do much of what we have been doing -- but do it for a full 60 minutes." -- Oilers forward Colin Fraser

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