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Sabres look to get back on track vs. Oilers

by Brian Compton /

OILERS (8-8-2) at SABRES (9-4-1)

Last 10 -- Oilers 3-6-1; Sabres 6-4-0.

Season series -- This is the lone meeting between the teams this season. On Jan. 27 at Rexall Place, Buffalo bombarded Edmonton with 10 goals in a 10-2 victory. Drew Stafford had a hat trick for the Sabres.

Big story -- The Oilers are experiencing a difficult time finding consistency, although they did put up a solid fight on Tuesday night in Ottawa. Gilbert Brule erased a 3-2 deficit with 4:43 remaining in regulation, but the Oilers dropped a 4-3 shootout against the Sens at Scotiabank Place.

The Sabres have hit their first rough patch of the season. They're coming off back-to-back weekend losses to Philadelphia and Boston.

Team Scope :

Oilers -- Edmonton came up short on Tuesday, but coach Pat Quinn drew from the positives afterwards. The Oilers have lost six of their last seven on the road. They had lost five in a row away from Rexall Place before recording an impressive win at Colorado on Sunday.

"It was probably our best three periods in a long time, and we maybe (could have) had a better result, but we didn't and the shootout we couldn't score," Quinn said. "We were a little better in Colorado than we have been and this was a better effort and hopefully that will continue."

Sabres -- After losing only two games in regulation in October, Buffalo enters Wednesday's action with back-to-back losses and three in its last four. The Sabres dropped a 4-2 decision at Boston on Saturday night and went 0-for-7 on the power play in the process.

"The greater issue is our game has lacked energy the last three games," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "I think the old me might have gone irate and done something a little bit stranger. We've dealt with some sickness. We're going to back off. We're going to get the guys some rest."

Who's hot -- Edmonton forward Dustin Penner, who had 17 goals all of last season, notched his 11th tally on Tuesday night against the Senators and now has 22 points. … After being held scoreless in his first 11 games, Sabres forward Derek Roy has found the back of the net in each of his last three contests.

Injury report -- Oilers forwards Marc Pouliot (sports hernia), Ryan Stone (knee), and Shawn Horcoff (shoulder) and defenseman Sheldon Souray (concussion) are out, while right wing Ales Hemsky (shoulder) and left wing J.F. Jacques (back) are day-to-day. … Sabres backup goalie Patrick Lalime is out indefinitely with a groin injury, while defenseman Toni Lydman (groin) is day-to-day.

Stat pack -- The Oilers are in the middle of a stretch that features 11 of 16 games on the road. … Edmonton goalie Nikolai Khabibulin has carried a heavy workload. He's already made 15 starts and is 7-7-1 with a 3.18 goals-against average. … Sabres center Tim Connolly is off to a solid start with 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists) in 14 games, while stay-at-home defenseman Henrik Tallinder is already a plus-10.

Puck drop -- Wednesday provides a solid opportunity for the Sabres to get back on track. Edmonton is missing several key players -- especially Souray, who is deadly on the power play -- and has won only twice in eight road games. Expect Buffalo to come out flying and attempt to get that early goal.

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