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RECAP: Sabres 6, Oilers 2

The Buffalo Sabres handed the Oilers their first loss of the season, a 6-2 decision at Rogers Place

by Chris Wescott @TheChrisWescott / EdmontonOilers.com Head Writer

Video: OILERS TODAY | Oilers vs. Sabres Post-Game

The Oilers managed to tie the game late in the first after falling behind early, but it was all Sabres from there as Buffalo handed Edmonton their first loss of the season, a 6-2 decision.

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The Oilers next host the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday, at 7 p.m. MT. It can be seen on Sportsnet Oilers and heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.

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Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan had some choice words on his club's performance after the game.

"We looked like the Bad News Bears," said McLellan. We had a 5 p.m. game in the afternoon, we had guys falling all over the place, we didn't execute, our passing was poor. Positionally, from the goaltender to the blueline on up to the forwards, no one was ready to play. I think each and every game you learn lessons. We learned a lesson that we are not quite ready to take a step. We can't handle prosperity yet. We just got kicked right between the legs and we deserved it."

The Oilers could have played with the lead, had Jesse Puljujarvi been able to finish on a feed from Connor McDavid early in the first. Instead, Edmonton found themselves playing from behind as Buffalo struck first at 2:37.

Sam Reinhart had a nice feed in the slot to Kyle Okposo, who buried his first of the season and put the visitors on top 1-0. Ryan O'Reilly recorded the second assist. 

O'Reilly, playing in his 500th career NHL game, put Buffalo up 2-0 at 7:14 of the first. With Reinhart screening Talbot on the power play, Okposo put a pass right on the tape and O'Reilly found twine for his first of the season. Rasmus Ristolainen recorded the second assist.

The Sabres had a 3-on-1 rush thwarted by a Cam Talbot pad save later in the period.

The Oil finally got on the board at 17:20 of the first. Benoit Pouliot buried a rebound off a Zack Kassian shot on the rush. The goal was Pouliot's first of the season. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins recorded the second helper.

Video: POST-GAME RAW | Todd McLellanThe Oilers got another similar goal to tie the game at 2-2 with a minute left in the first frame. Leon Draisaitl's shot was kicked out by Robin Lehner, giving Milan Lucic a look at another juicy rebound. Lucic buried the equalizer, his first of the season and first as a member of the Oilers organization. Lucic's goal was also his 400th NHL point. Jordan Eberle tallied the second assist on the goal.

"We did a lot of good stuff late in that first period to get ourselves back in the game," said McDavid. "Then it kind of got away from us again in the second. I thought we had a really good regroup in the second intermission and then came out flat again."

O'Reilly scored his second goal of the night from behind centre ice. O'Reilly's shot from centre hit off Talbot's glove and bounced in behind the goaltender at 3:53 of the second period. The goal, assisted by Ristolainen and Cody Franson put the Sabres up 3-2.

Video: EDM Recap: Pouliot, Lucic score in Oilers' lossAt 9:22 of the middle frame, Sabres captain Brian Gionta deflected a Jake McCabe shot in from in front of Talbot. The goal was reviewed, first for a high-stick, and then was challenged for goaltender interference. The call on the ice stood, and the home team found themselves down two goals again.

Talbot was then pulled in favour of Jonas Gustavsson.

Gustavsson would have a scare with 3:02 remaining in the second. Adam Larsson was defending a 2-on-1 when he skated backwards over the sprawling netminder. Gustavsson appeared to bend his neck on the collision, but was able to stand up on his own and, after being tended to by the team trainer, stayed in the game.

A few moments later, however, Talbot would replace Gustavsson as the goalie carousel continued. Gustavsson would not return to the game or come to the bench for the third.

The Sabres scored just 37 seconds into the third and final frame, as Gionta slipped a shot five-hole on Talbot.

O'Reilly set up another Sabres tally at 4:36 of the third. Matt Moulson finished on the feed from the slot to make it 6-2 and put the game out of reach.

"This is tough," said Larsson. "Letting up six goals tonight, it wasn't good enough in all parts. I think it's up to us players to reload now and really focus on Carolina and the next game. We have to do it quick. That's the charm about this league. There's a quick turnaround. This was not how we wanted this night to end. But it happened and we have to move on and be prepared for next game."

The Oilers (2-1-0) will look to rebound from the loss when they host Carolina on Tuesday, at 7 p.m. MT.

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