Sabres Hope to Strike Oil When They Host Edmonton
<em>Buffalo needs more home ice wins. </em>
Buffalo Sabres (32-25-4) vs. Edmonton Oilers (34-22-8)
Puck Drop: 7:30 PM KeyBank Center
TV: ESPN+, Hulu
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Oilers Blog: Copper and Blue
Know Your Opponent
Last Game: 7-5 loss to the Winnipeg Jets
Division Ranking: 4th in the Pacific Division
PP: 1st (31.86%)
PK: 25th (75.22%)
What to Watch
1. Stay Out of the Box
The Edmonton Oilers are an NHL No. 1 in power play opportunities, scoring almost 32% of the time with the man advantage. While that’s still less one third of their PP chances, it’s better than any other team in the league, including the Sabres.
If Buffalo hopes to beat an Oilers unit that’s its equal in the standings, the Blue and Gold must stay out of the penalty box as much as possible. With the way the refs love to put their thumb on the scales against the Sabres, that’s easier said than done, but the home team has to try.
While the Oil are great at scoring with the man advantage, they’re not so strong on penalty kills, ranking a league 25th. Buffalo has a much better chance of scoring on an Edmonton penalty than killing off one of its own. If the Sabes do get a power play, they need to control the puck and take multiple shots on net, something Buffalo’s lines don’t always do consistently.
2. Buffalo Needs More Wins at Home
The Buffalo Sabres are much better on the road than at home this season, enjoying a 19-9-2 away record vs. 13-16-2 at KeyBank Center, according to Champs or Chumps.us. With plenty of home ice matchups left, the team needs to step up or ending that 12 years and counting playoff drought will remain elusive.
Buffalo’s record against Edmonton is 30-42-10. While that doesn’t look good at first glance, the Sabres have dominated the Copper and Blue in recent years, winning four of their last six meetings and not losing to the Oilers at home since 3/4/2019. The hosts can keep that streak alive, if they play aggressive, consistent hockey.
3. Bet on Underdog Sabres to Win
The majority of bettors favor the Oilers in this contest, but Mike Fink of Winners and Whiners.com advises you to go against the wagering flow. Both opponents enjoy high-scoring offenses, with Edmonton averaging 3.88 goals per game and 16 in its last three. Buffalo’s lines have a combined 3.74 GPG and 25 in their last 6.
Each team has a mediocre defense to match its high-powered offense. The Oilers’ D allows an average 3.31 GPG, while the Sabres cough up 3.56. Both sides struggle to keep opponents from getting goals, which should make for an exciting game.
Fink predicts the Sabres will control this contest on home ice, with Dahlin and Power leading the defense to limit the Oilers’ scoring chances while Thompson, Skinner and Co. get down to business on Edmonton’s net. Take the Sabres moneyline as home underdogs and enjoy great odds in the process.
Jeff Skinner – Tage Thompson -Jack Quinn
Casey Mittelstadt – Dylan Cozens – Vinnie Hinostroza
JJ Peterka – Peyton Krebs – Victor Olofsson
Jordan Greenway – Zemgus Girgensons – Kyle Okposo
Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju
Owen Power – Ilya Lyubushkin
Jacob Bryson - Kale Clague
Goaltenders: Craig Anderson (likely), Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Eric Comrie
Injuries: Tyson Jost, Alex Tuch
Ryan McLeod – Connor McDavid – Zach Hyman
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Leon Draisaitl – Kailer Yamamoto
Warren Foegele – Nick Bjugstad – Mattias Janmark
Klim Kostin – Devin Shore – Derek Ryan
Darnell Nurse – Cody Ceci
Mattias Elkhorn – Evan Bouchard
Brett Kulak – Vincent Desharnais
Goaltenders: Stuart Skinner (likely), Jack Campbell
Injuries: Evander Kane, Ryan Murrray