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Buffalo Begins Western Road Trip With Hockey After Dark Against Edmonton

Both teams look to extend win streaks.

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Game 61

Buffalo Sabres (20-32-8) vs. Edmonton Oilers (33-23-4)

Puck Drop: 9:00 PM EST | Rogers Place | Edmonton, Alberta, CAN

TV: MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Oilers Blog: The Copper & Blue

Know Your Opponent

Edmonton Oilers

Record: (33-23-4) | 70 PTS

Division Ranking: 3rd in Pacific Division

PP: 5th (24.7%)

PK: 25th (75.8%)

What to Watch

1. A Shift in the Dynamic

Unless you have been living under a rock during the last week or so, there has been a very obvious shift in the attitude of the Sabres as of late and it is starting to show on the ice. Has the shift been there since the fall? Probably. But fans saw it firsthand after Buffalo’s big win against Vegas and the poor attitude of their former captain during post-game interviews. Dylan Cozens may have said it best:

“I think we just all have the same vision. We are not about ourselves. We are bringing this team to something successful and bringing this city a Stanley Cup. That is our goal.”

Obviously, the team is far from that Stanley Cup (let’s make the playoffs first, shall we?), but the team seems hopeful for the first time in many years. Their playing seems more fluid and the team as a whole does work hard and stick up for each other on the ice (Dylan Cozens showed this with his hit on Auston Matthews the other day). It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out.

2. Who’s Hot?

Obviously, Connor McDavid is the opponent to watch tonight. He is always great but was honored as the number one star in Edmonton’s last game against Detroit. He recorded his 200th multi-point game and now sits in the 11th spot of most multi-point games before the age of 26. Wayne Gretzky leads that charge with 409 and Mario Lemieux sits at number two with 255.

3. Let’s Hear it for the Goals

If there is one thing to expect tonight, it should be quite a few goals. Edmonton is coming off of a huge (albeit, sloppy) 7-5 win against the Red Wings Tuesday night and the Sabres netted five in Sunday’s Heritage Classic.

In their last 13 meetings with the Sabres, the Oilers are 6-4-3, however, their home record is not quite as favorable (3-6-1 and a -19 goal differential in their last 10 at home against the blue and gold).

The Sabres are looking for their first three-game winning streak since mid-October(!) and coming off of their last two, it is not totally out of the question.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner - Tage Thompson - Alex Tuch

Peyton Krebs - Dylan Cozens - Vinnie Hinostroza

Rasmus Asplund - Casey Mittelstadt - Victor Olofsson

Zemgus Girgensons - Cody Eakin - Kyle Okposo

Defense*

Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju

Mattias Samuelsson - Jacob Bryson

Robert Hagg - Mark Pysyk

*Colin Miller may be back on the ice tonight after missing 23 games following an upper-body injury and surgery.

Starting Goaltender: Craig Anderson

Edmonton Oilers

Forwards**

Evander Kane - Connor McDavid - Kailer Yamamoto

Ryan McLeod - Leon Draisaitl - Zach Hyman

Warren Foegele - Devin Shore - Derek Ryan

Josh Archibald - Brad Malone - Zack Kassian

Defense**

Darnell Nurse - Cody Ceci

Duncan Keith - Evan Bouchard

Philip Broberg* - Tyson Barrie

**Jesse Puljujarvi (forward) and Kris Russell (defenseman) may return tonight following injury recovery.

Starting Goaltender: Mike Smith***

***Smith will return between the pipes tonight for the first time since March 5. He has had a very limited season with only 15 starts due to illnesses and injuries.