|6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)21:00 ETNaN:� BRT, January 14, 2019
Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta Attendance: 18,347
Good news coming for one NHL's more disappointing teams
Edmonton and Buffalo both need a victory to keep up with the playoff chase. One of them will get it Monday night.
When the Sabres (23-16-6, 52 points) visit the Oilers (21-21-3, 45 points), it will be a matchup of two teams currently sitting outside playoff picture, each winning just three times in their last 10 games.
The Oilers are actually in a 3-9-0 slide and have lost six of their last seven at home -- all in regulation -- with the lone victory a shootout win that came after tying the game with eight seconds left in the third period. They most recently lost 3-2 at home to Arizona on Saturday night.
The Sabres have lost two straight and three of four, but their struggles stretch back even further than do those of the Oilers. Remember when Buffalo was atop the league on Nov. 27 thanks to a 10-game winning streak? The Sabres have won only six of their last 20 games since.
"Sure, there's frustration," forward Sam Reinhart told the Buffalo News after Saturday's 5-3 home loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. "But we're right there. There's no time to dwell on it. We're right in the hunt. That's where we wanted to be at the start of the year."
The recurring theme for the Sabres has been the close-but-no-cigar scenario. They don't typically get blown out, but they also can't find those timely goals or great shutdown plays at the critical juncture.
"We just have to find a way to get over the hump and win some of these games," defenseman Marco Scandella told the media Saturday. "I feel like tonight again we played a great game for 55 minutes. The last five minutes, we have to find a way to get better. It's just not good enough."
The Sabres, who finished last in the league in 2017-18 and are only two wins shy of their victory total from last season, are kicking off a five-game road trip, the first three through Western Canada.
Speaking of not being good enough, the Oilers are only a couple of points outside a wild-card spot, but are falling well short of expectations. Nonetheless, they did win two games ago and some of their recent losses have come with some unlucky breaks. For example, Arizona's game winner Saturday came when a shot went off the glass and banked into the net off the foot of Coyotes forward Conor Garland in the third period. Earlier in the game, Garland scored when he deflected the puck goaltender Cam Talbot with his face.
"On our glass (the puck) usually dies on it," Talbot told the media of the game winner. "It must've hit a stanchion and came out the other way. We face those all the time in practice and it never comes out that way. It seems to be the story of our last few games, but at this point there's no more excuses. We can't allow those bounces to beat us."
Besides, his coach says, it's up to the Oilers themselves to earn their lucky breaks.
"I just know what it takes to get in, and at the present level it's not good enough," head coach Ken Hitchcock told reporters. "We'll have to find a way to get more from this group, and that's on us to try and see what we can squeeze more out of."
--Field Level Media
Updated January 13, 2019