Oilers-Sabres Preview

The Buffalo Sabres are dealing with a plethora of injuries,

contributing to their current losing streak.

Facing the Edmonton Oilers may help ease the pain.

Buffalo seeks its sixth straight win over Edmonton when the

teams meet Tuesday night at First Niagara Center.

The Sabres (17-17-4) have lost three consecutive games and six

of their last seven after falling 3-2 to Ottawa in a shootout on

Saturday, scoring fewer than three goals for the fifth time in six

games.

Buffalo played without five regular contributors including

defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who suffered an upper-body injury in

Friday’s 3-1 loss at Washington. Making matters worse, Brad Boyes –

who scored in Saturday’s loss – and Jason Pominville left Monday’s

practice early.

Though Tyler Myers and Tyler Ennis are close to returning, the

Sabres are struggling without their regular lineup.

“We just have to keep grinding it out,” Ruff said. “We did some

good things. We’re just not converting. It’s something we’re going

to have to work on.”

Ruff said he expects Pominville to play through an illness,

while Boyes’ injury may keep him from playing Tuesday after he fell

against the boards during a drill.

“Boyes just tweaked his ankle for a second and it’s one of those

where it could just be a stinger but we’ll have to wait and see,”

Ruff told the team’s official website.

It may not matter who the Sabres have on the ice Tuesday given

their recent success against the Oilers. Buffalo has outscored

Edmonton 22-7 during its five-game winning streak in the

series.

Ryan Miller, who got the night off Saturday, should be back in

net for the Sabres. He’s started each game during Buffalo’s winning

streak over Edmonton, posting a 1.40 goals-against average in those

victories.

He’ll face an Oilers team that ended a seven-game road losing

streak with a 4-3 win over Chicago on Monday, though the price may

have been losing two key players.

Defenseman Tom Gilbert took a hard hit into the boards in the

second period and came down awkwardly, leaving his status up in the

air for Tuesday.

Also uncertain to play is rookie sensation Ryan Nugent-Hopkins,

who suffered a lower-body injury after playing less than four

minutes in the first period. The No. 1 overall draft pick leads all

rookies with 13 goals and 22 assists.

Edmonton (16-19-3) was able to hold on for the victory Monday to

end a three-game skid, but is still only 4-11-1 in its last 16

games.

Andy Sutton scored, Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist and

Jordan Eberle added two assists for the Oilers, who scored at least

four goals for only the second time in their last nine

contests.

“That’s the way we played at the start of the year,” said

Sutton, speaking of Edmonton’s 8-2-2 start. “I don’t know what’s so

complicated about playing that way. Just don’t turn the puck over.

We were tenacious on the puck and the results speak for

themselves.”

Devan Dubnyk made 39 saves in his second straight start in place

of the struggling Nikolai Khabibulin (2-6-1 with a 2.90 GAA in his

last nine starts). It’s unclear who will be in net Tuesday, but

Khabibulin has lost his last four starts against Buffalo.