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Game #65: Sabres vs. Oilers Preview & Open Thread

Dec 19, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (1) during a stoppage in play against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Game 65

Buffalo Sabres (29-30-5) vs. Edmonton Oilers (38-21-2)

Puck Drop: 12:30 PM ET | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY


Radio: WGR-550

Know Your Opponent 

Edmonton Oilers

Record: 38-21-2

Last Game: 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets

Division Ranking: 2nd, Pacific

PP: 26.7% (3rd)

PK: 79.8% (14th)

What To Watch For

1. The New-Look Sabres

Saturday’s matinee will offer us the first glance at the new-look Sabres, with a few changes thanks to the trade deadline. Kyle Okposo, Casey Mittelstadt and Erik Johnson are gone. Ryan Johnson was sent to Rochester. Tyson Jost and Kale Clague have been recalled.

The Oilers made a few deals, picking up left winger Adam Henrique and center Sam Carrick in a deal with Anaheim, and defenseman Troy Stecher in a deal with Arizona.

2. McDavid in Buffalo

The player to watch this afternoon is, of course, Connor McDavid. McDavid has hit the 100-point mark with 23 goals and 77 assists in 59 games this season and is third in the NHL in scoring, behind only Nathan MacKinnon (111) and Nikita Kucherov (106). Leon Draisaitl has 81 points on the season, including 32 goals and 49 assists. Those two are the pair to watch, and no doubt there will be a fair contingent of McDavid fans and admirers in the crowd. Hey, it’s not every day you get to see a legend in the making.

3. It’s UPL’s Net

Happy 25th birthday to Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who is expected to get the start again this afternoon for Buffalo. Luukkonen has started 19 of the team’s last 22 games and has allowed two or fewer goals against in six of his last eight games. He ranks first in goals-against average and save percentage since December 30 (among those who have played in 10+ games) and has been sharp as of late. Let’s see what he can do to shut down McDavid, Draisaitl and Zach Hyman.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

(Honestly, who knows? The lines were in a blender for Thursday’s game, and now with several player movements, no skate Friday and no morning skate Saturday, who knows what the lines will look like? Jordan Greenway is out, Tage Thompson is back in.


Zach Benson – Dylan Cozens – JJ Peterka
Eric Robinson – Tage Thompson – Alex Tuch
Lukas Rousek – Peyton Krebs – Victor Olofsson
Jeff Skinner – Zemgus Girgensons – Tyson Jost


Bowen Byram – Rasmus Dahlin
Owen Power – Henri Jokiharju
Jacob Bryson – Connor Clifton

Goaltenders: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (projected starter), Eric Comrie

Edmonton Oilers


Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Connor McDavid – Zach Hyman
Adam Henrique – Leon Draisaitl – Evander Kane
Warren Foegele – Ryan McLeod – Corey Perry
Mattias Janmark – Sam Carrick – Derek Ryan


Mattias Ekholm – Evan Bouchard
Darnell Nurse – Vincent Desharnais
Brett Kulak – Cody Ceci

Goaltenders: Calvin Pickard, Stuart Skinner

Talking Points