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Game #71 Preview & Open Thread: Sabres vs. Oilers

Oct 18, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Buffalo Sabres forward JJ Peterka (77) scores a second period goal against Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Game 71

Buffalo Sabres (33-32-5) vs. Edmonton Oilers (41-21-4)

Puck Drop: 9:00 PM EDT, Rogers Place, Edmonton, AB

TV: MSG-B, SNW, ESPN+

Radio: WGR-550

Know Your Opponent

Edmonton Oilers

Record: (41-21-4)

Last Game: 3-2 Win against the Montreal Canadiens (OT)

Division Ranking: 2nd in the Pacific Division

PP Ranking: 26.40% (4th)

PK Ranking: 80.19% (13th)

1) Oilers the Better Record Against the Sabres

The Edmonton Oilers have the better overall record against the Sabres, with Buffalo being 31-43-10 versus Edmonton all time. However, the Blue and Gold beat the Oil in two of their last four meetings, including the most recent contest on March 9.

The Sabres can defeat the Oilers, who, while they’re a very good team, are not an opponent that’s gotten into Buffalo’s head. If the visitors play a similar game the way they did against the Seattle Kraken, the Sabres can leave Rogers Place with two points. A lackluster effort like the Vancouver loss obviously won’t cut it.

2) Stay Out of the Box

The Oilers are one of the league’s best teams with the man advantage, ranking an NHL-4th on power plays. The Sabres are relatively okay at killing off penalties, 17th on the PK as of this writing.

However, Buffalo shouldn’t give the Copper and Blue any unnecessary scoring chances. The Oilers have a strong depth with forwards such as Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl who know how to find the back of the net. The Sabres can’t afford any dumb penalties that could lead to goals.

3) UPL Back in Net

Sabres’ goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukonen is the likely starter against the Oilers. He’s enjoyed a great 2023-24, with a much-improved .915 SV% and 2.39 GAA. Last year, his stats were .892 and 3.61, respectively.

With no more back-to-back games the rest of season, it makes little sense for head coach Don Granato to keep backup Devon Levi on the road with the Sabres and not send him back to Rochester. UPL is much sharper and experienced at blocking shots and taking away scoring chances, something Buffalo will need against an aggressive Edmonton offense.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Zemgus Girgensons – Tage Thompson – Alex Tuch

Jordan Greenway – Peyton Krebs – Jeff Skinner

Zach Benson – Dylan Cozens – JJ Peterka

Eric Robinson – Tyson Jost – Victor Olofsson

Defense

Bowen Byram – Rasmus Dahlin

Owen Power – Henri Jokiharju

Jacob Bryson – Connor Clifton

Goaltenders

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (likely starter), Eric Comrie

Edmonton Oilers

Forwards

Evander Kane – Connor McDavid – Zach Hyman

Ryan McCleod – Leon Draisaitl – Warren Foegele

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Adam Henrique – Corey Perry

Mattias Janmark – Sam Carrick – Connor Brown

Defense

Mattias Ekholm – Evan Bouchard

Darnell Nurse – Troy Stecher

Brett Kulak – Cody Ceci

Goaltenders

Stuart Skinner (confirmed starter), Calvin Pickard

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