By Frank Wolf
Edmonton (14-10-3, 31 Pts.) is in town to face the Sabres (9-10-6, 24 Pts.) for the second and final time this season. In the last meeting the Oilers dropped a surprising 6-2 decision to the visiting Sabres. Jack Eichel was on the shelf at the time but will be in the lineup tonight to face his old draft buddy Connor McDavid. McDavid (11-23-34) leads the league in overall scoring, while Eichel (3-1-4), has played well since returning from a high- ankle sprain that kept him in the press box the first 21 games of the season.
This is also the second time that the 1st and 2nd overall picks from the 2015 NHL Entry Draft will meet head-to-head during the regular season. Last March McDavid punched in both Oilers goals in a 2-1 OT victory. This season McDavid has been able to flex his scoring muscles like many scouts had predicted he would. In Edmonton’s game this past Sunday against Minnesota, McDavid was pulled out during the 2nd period by an NHL concussion spotter. As part of the league’s new initiative to curb concussions, spotter’s are constantly watching player’s reactions after hard hits, falls and other body contact sustained during the course of a shift. In this particular case, McDavid was tripped and hit his chin on the ice. Concussion protocol kicked in and with it, came the hook for McDavid. At the time the Oilers were on a 5-on-3 power play. McDavid returned later to the game after receiving a clean bill. Edmonton went onto lose in OT, 2-1.
The Sabres meanwhile were in action Monday night visiting the Washington Capitals. Buffalo took a 2-1 lead into the 3rd period but were unable to put the Caps away. Washington went onto defeat Buffalo 3-2 in OT. Zemgus Girgensons and Kyle Okposo registered goals for Buffalo while Robin Lehner made 30 saves in a losing effort.
Buffalo is 4-4-2 in their last 10 games and are 4-5-3 at home on the season. The Oilers are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games played and have an impressive 8-4-2 road record. Edmonton is 2nd in the Pacific Division and have the 4th best record in the Western Conference.
Anders Nillson will be between the pipes for Buffalo. Nillson appeared in 26 games last season with Edmonton going 10-12-2 and sporting a .901 save percentage.
Sabres Head Coach Dan Bylsma has to be happy with recent call-up Brendan Guhle’s play the past two games. On Saturday the defenseman was a plus/minus +1 and recorded 4 shots and on Monday he turned in a 3 hit, 4 blocked shot performance in 16:48 TOI. No lineup changes are expected Tuesday night.
The Oilers should have 2016 1st round pick Jesse Puljujarvi and also Matt Hendricks back in the lineup after both players were out with injuries. Darnell Nurse is out long-term with a lower-body injury.
@wolf3328 Keys to the Game
- No Stupid Penalties
- Forwards MUST Play Both Ends
- Hit McDavid Every Shift
- Score 3 Goals
- Pressure Young, Depleted Defensive Corps
- Play with the Lead
For Live in-Game Tweets follow @anthonyfiorello Making his 300Level Debut