The Oilers continue their five-game road trip tonight looking to build off a convincing 6-2 win in Detroit on Wednesday but they're going to have to do it with at least one and maybe two key players as illness continues to ravage the club.
Oscar Klefbom did not take part in the morning skate due to illness and for the same reason, Laurent Brossoit gets his third start of the season in place of Cam Talbot who is also feeling the effects.
"We'll start LB tonight and Klef will be a gametime decision," said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan. "When he gets here, we'll see how he's feeling but odds are against him playing right now."
Brossoit did well in his last start, which was a 2-1 shootout loss in Washington. He was asked about the reasons for his success in that game.
"My preparation felt good. I felt ready when I stepped in there. That game, the boys were very structurally sound. It helped me a lot and helped me get into the game."
Buffalo comes into tonight's game with seven straight losses, but Brossoit said that can't be a consideration in his preparation for the game.
"I don't take the opposing team as a consideration based on the fact I've just got to focus on what I'm going to do and that's what I'm going to do."
BUILDING OFF WEDNESDAY'S WIN
McLellan was asked about the reasons for success in Detroit.
"I thought in Detroit we worked our butts off and that's an essential ingredient to having a chance at success and I thought our game management was much better than it's been on this road trip," he began.
"It was important for a lot of reasons. Simple standings situation. You don't want to fall too far out. But more importantly, the character was questioned of the group and they responded with a good effort."
The Oilers bench boss added that the key is that the team needs to start winning multiple games to get back in the race and that starts tonight.
"That has to be strung together. We've got to string a bunch of good games together. It started in Detroit, let's try and keep it going tonight."
HOUSLEY ON MCDAVID
Hockey Hall of Fame defenceman and Sabres head coach Phil Housley had some high praise for Oilers captain Connor McDavid when asked his pre-game media availability.
"He's one of the best players in the world. He's extremely fast and you have to be aware when he's on the ice," he said. "He's got terrific speed so you're going to have stay above and can't give him the freedom to move around."
With a star of his own, Housley cautioned against teams -- whether the Oilers or the Sabres or anyone -- relying too much on their star player.
"When you look at it, McDavid and Eichel are tremendous players and that's why they're going to get a lot of attention. They're only one piece of the puzzle," Housley stated. "It has to be a collective effort. I've never seen one player win a game for a hockey team."
A lot is up in the air for the Oilers on the blueline and very dependent on whether Oscar Klefbom draws in, but these are the projected lines for tonight if he doesn't play: