Edmonton Oilers vs Buffalo Sabres - Odds and Predictions

How to Watch

Where: KeyBank Center – Buffalo, N.Y.

When: Thursday, January 2, 7PM EST

How (TV/Radio): Sportsnet West, MSG Buffalo | WFAN

Edmonton Oilers (Away)

Head Coach: Dave Tippett{All-Time 574-430-28-124 EDM, ARI, PHX, DAL}

Sitting fourth in the Pacific Division, the Edmonton Oilers enter the new year on a bit of a slump, going just 3-7-0 in their last ten games and having top-scorer Leon Draisaitl refer to the team’s December as “pretty s— lately”.

Offense

Although they are slumping, the Edmonton Oilers still have the league’s top-two scorers in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who have thus far combined for 126 points in 42 games played.

As a whole, the team has the ninth-most goals scored in the NHL with 95 (45 of those belonging to McDavid and Draisaitl) and 30 of those goals have come on their league-leading power play. Edmonton currently has a 32.36 power-play percentage.

Edmonton also edges out Buffalo when it comes to shooting percentage. The Oilers currently have a 10.4 shooting percentage which is the sixth-best percentage in the NHL currently.

Defense

Although their power play is ranked first in the league, that same power-play unit ranks first for allowing shorthanded goals against. Edmonton has allowed five short-handed goals this season, tied for the most in the league.

Their penalty killing has remained reliable this season and the team currently boasts the league’s fifth-best penalty-killing unit with 83.3 percent. Edmonton also averages fewer penalty minutes per game than their opponents.

Edmonton has also allowed fewer goals and shots against than Buffalo, but only by the slimmest of margins. Their goaltending has been significantly better and the team has the 11th-best save percentage in the league at .908.

Goaltending

Fans can expect to see goaltender Mikko Koskinen in net Thursday night for the Oilers. Koskinen has remained consistent this season, putting together a season record of 14-8-2. He has a 2.85 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage. He also has one shutout on the season.

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Buffalo Sabres (Home)

Head Coach: Ralph Krueger{All-Time 36-39-14 BUF, EDM}

Much like their opponents, the Buffalo Sabres had a December worth forgetting. The Sabres have gone 3-6-1 over their last ten games and are currently riding a four-game losing skid into the new year. Captain Jack Eichel has been almost the only positive for the team recently as he now finds himself within the top-ten in league scoring.

Offence

The Sabres are entering this game with a top-ten player of their own. Captain Jack Eichel, selected number two in the 2015 draft behind only Connor McDavid, now has 53 points in 40 games – 25 of those points being goals. However, the Sabres are still without one of their other key offensive talents as Jeff Skinner is still sidelined with an injury.

These two teams average about the same amount of goals-per-game but it is Buffalo who has been the higher-shooting team this season. Buffalo sits 16th in league shooting and averages just over 30 shots per game.

The Buffalo Sabres are at an incredible disadvantage when it comes to the power play as they’re special teams unit sits only at 21st in the league with a 17.6 per cent. However, Buffalo sits at eighth in the league when it comes to scoring goals at even strength. Edmonton barely cracks the top-20.

Power play percentage won’t be their only disadvantage in this matchup. Buffalo has struggled all season in the faceoff circle and currently hold the league’s worst faceoff percentage at 45.4 per cent.

Defence

These teams are more evenly matched on the back end, but Buffalo will still be at a disadvantage on special teams. The Sabres have the league’s third-worst penalty-killing unit, currently sitting with a 73.8 per cent.

Their power play also struggles defensively and will have to be on the lookout even with the man-advantage as Buffalo has also allowed five shorthanded goals against this season.

They have allowed two more goals against this season than Edmonton as well and have allowed a total of 94 – the ninth-most in the league. Strangely, they’ve also allowed just two shots more against than the Oilers and have allowed the league’s sixth-most shots against.

Goaltending

Goaltender Linus Ullmark is expected to get the start for Buffalo against the Oilers. Ullmark has a 500-record this season of 11-11-3 with a GAA of 2.90 and a .909 save percentage. Like his opposing goaltender, Ullmark also has one shutout this season.

Amidst these two team’s weak months, they faced off against one another on December 8. It was the Buffalo Sabres who came away with the narrow 3-2 victory over the Oilers.

What’s at Stake?

Both of these teams need to get back in the win column. Both teams had poor Decembers, but that doesn’t mean the season is unsalvageable. If last year’s Stanley Cup winners the St. Louis Blues taught us anything, it’s that going from last place to champions isn’t impossible. Buffalo’s back is against the wall more so than Edmonton, however, as they are amidst a four-game losing skid while playing in what could be the league’s tightest division. Every point counts for the Sabres from here on out. Edmonton has a stronger team overall and most view their poor recently play just a minor slump.

Questions to Answer

Which team will get their first win of 2020? Can the Buffalo Sabres win their second game in a row against Edmonton and snap their four-game skid or can Edmonton pull off the win and start the new year on a two-game winning streak?

With Ryan Mantha and Matt Benning out and Oscar Klefbom listed as day-to-day for the Oilers, can the Buffalo Sabres find a way to exploit the weakened blue line of Edmonton?

Can Buffalo continue to rely upon their home arena support and pull off another win in the KeyBank Center where they have gone 11-5-3 this season?

Edmonton Oilers Injury Report

D Oscar Klefbom – day-to-day (undisclosed)

D Ryan Mantha – IR/NR (eye)

D Matt Benning – DL (head)

Buffalo Sabres Injury Report

D Matt Hunwick – IR/NR (knee)

F Vladimir Sobotka – DL (knee)

F Jeff Skinner – DL (upper-body)

F Tage Thompson – DL (upper-body)

Edmonton Oilers vs Buffalo Sabres – Game Odds

The odds for the Oilers vs the Sabres game are provided by SugarHouse NJ, DraftKings Sportsbook, and 888Sport NJ.

Good luck!

Money Line

SportsbookOilersSabres
SugarHouse NJ+108-132
DraftKings+110-129
888Sport NJ+108-132

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