Preview: Buffalo at Edmonton
When: 8:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 6, 2015
Where: Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta
The Edmonton Oilers envisioned Cam Talbot as a huge factor in helping them escape the NHL’s abyss, but it seems fellow goaltender Anders Nilsson wants to lead the expedition. The 25-year-old Swede has started 12 of Edmonton’s last 15 games and tries for his third straight victory Sunday, when the Oilers host the Buffalo Sabres.
Edmonton, which is tied for the fewest points in the NHL with 22, began a five-game homestand with wins over Boston 3-2 in a shootout Wednesday and Dallas 2-1 in overtime Friday, and seeks its second three-game winning streak of the season. “These are a big confidence boost for us to win these last two games,” Nilsson told reporters after making his fourth consecutive start, improving to 7-7-1 with a 2.52 goals-against average and .921 save percentage. “Two very tight games and to win both of them, one in overtime and one in a shootout, is huge for us. It shows we have good character and a good team.” Buffalo begins a three-game swing through Western Canada having won three of its last four games after dropping six straight (0-4-2). The Sabres’ latest conquest was a 5-2 victory over Arizona on Friday that featured Evander Kane scoring twice for the second straight contest after recording two goals in his first 14 games of the season.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, MSG (Buffalo), RSN (Edmonton)
ABOUT THE SABRES (11-12-3): Buffalo has scored 17 goals in its last four games after totaling 45 in its first 22, with Kane recording five since returning from a sprained MCL on Nov. 19. Ryan O’Reilly has recorded a team-high 21 points after registering a goal and three assists in his last three games, and shares the lead in goals (eight) with 19-year-old center Jack Eichel. Sam Reinhart scored his seventh of the season while registering a plus-2 rating Friday and is a club-best plus-2 for the campaign.
ABOUT THE OILERS (10-15-2): Taylor Hall leads the team with 10 goals after scoring for the first time in seven games Friday and also paces Edmonton with 26 points. Jordan Eberle on Wednesday was reunited on the top line with Hall and rookie Leon Draisaitl (eight goals, 19 points) and scored in overtime Friday for his fourth goal in 14 games after missing the first 13 contests because of a shoulder injury. Eberle, though, is a team-worst minus-10 along with Benoit Pouliot (five goals, 12 points), who was placed on injured reserve Saturday (lower body) along with little-used defenseman Andrew Ference (undisclosed).
1. Talbot (3-8-1, 3.17, .889) has lost four straight games and hasn’t won since posting a 4-3 victory over Montreal on Oct. 29.
2. The Oilers have failed to score on 11 power plays over their last three games after tallying with the man advantage in three consecutive contests.
3. Edmonton claimed a pair of 3-2 victories over Buffalo last season and has won three of the last four meetings.
PREDICTION: Oilers 3, Sabres 2