#3 Buffalo Sabresvs.#4 Edmonton Oilers
Written by David Hess
When: 7:00 PM ET, Sunday, October 16, 2016
Where: Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta
Lines: Edmonton -175/ Buffalo +159
The Buffalo Sabres have lost star Jack Eichel for a while and will now look for their first win of the year when they invade Rogers Place in Alberta, Canada to battle it out with the Edmonton Oilers, who are off a pair of wins over Calgary to start their year. The Oilers have won the last four games in this series.
The Buffalo Sabres started the year with a 4-1 loss at home to Montreal. The Sabres did outshoot Montreal 31-24 and won the faceoff battle 40-25, but all they could muster was a single goal in the game, which was scored by Matt Moulson, with assists from Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen. The offense just didn’t put the biscuit in the basket enough. The Sabres found out before the game that they will be without Jack Eichel for a few weeks and then during the game the lost Evander Kane, who is out indefinitely with a rib injury. The Sabres were not really expected to be a challenger for a playoff spot and losing Eichel and Kane will not help them at all. This could be one of the worst teams in the league right now.
Taking the loss in the game was Robin Lehner, who stopped 20 of 24 shots. Last year for the Sabres he was 5-9-5 with a 2.47 GAA, including 3-5-2 with a 1.99 GAA on the road, while vs the Oilers he has gone 1-1-1 with a 1.97 GAA. Last year the Sabres ranked 25th in the league in scoring at 2.43 gpg, while also ranking 17th in shots taken (29.5 spg) and 12th in power play conversions, converting on 18.9% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they were very average as they ranked 15th in goals allowed, giving up 2.62 gpg, while also ranking 22nd in shots allowed (30.6) and 9th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 17.4% of their chances.
Last year Connor McDavid was lost for a couple of months early in the year and he played well once he returned as he had 16 goals and 32 assists in his 45 games he played. This year so far in two games he is off to a great start as he has three goals and three assists in those two games. The Oilers took on Calgary in their first two games and won both with the 1st win being 7-5 at home and then they won 5-3 on the road. Scoring for the Oilers in that road win was Connor McDavid, Jordan Eberle, Mark Letestu and Leon Draisaitl, who scored twice in the game. This is a very good offensive team this year, especially now that they are healthy and having McDavid on the ice is a huge plus for them whenever they go out there.
Cam Talbot took the win in both games, but still has a 3.51 GAA in those games. Last year he was 21-27-5 with a 2.55 GAA, including 12-16 with a 2.55 GAA here at home, while vs the Sabres in his career he is 1-0 with a 0.94 GAA in one game. Last year the Oilers ranked 26th in the league in scoring at 2.43 gpg, while also ranking 22nd in shots taken (29.1 spg) and 18th in power play conversions, converting on 18.1% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they ranked 27th in goals allowed, giving up 2.95 gpg, while also ranking 26th in shots allowed (31.1) and 18th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 18.9% of their chances.
I like the Oilers here on the puckline. There is no Kane or Eichel for the Sabres, while the Oilers have a lot of offensive firepower as they displayed by scoring 12 goals in their two wins over Calgary. McDavid and Draisaitl are both off to strong starts and the Sabres just don’t have anyone to slow them down. Take the Oilers to win this one by at least two goals.
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