Oilers powerless to dull Sabres

 

If last season’s 10-2 drubbing to the Buffalo Sabres weighed heavily on the Edmonton Oilers’ heads, they couldn’t extract their pound of flesh in the first meeting since that humiliating night.

 
 
 
 
 

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BUFFALO — If last season’s 10-2 drubbing to the Buffalo Sabres weighed heavily on the Edmonton Oilers’ heads, they couldn’t extract their pound of flesh in the first meeting since that humiliating night.

They needed an ounce of power-play savvy in the last six minutes when Clarke MacArthur was tossed for boarding Liam Reddox and knocking him out, but they didn’t get the tying goal on a five-minute advantage and fell 3-1 to the Sabres in National Hockey League action.

The Oilers sorely missed Sheldon Souray’s bombs-away attitude from the point as he watched from the press box, still trying to come back from his concussion.

While they pressed for the tying goal late in the third, Jochen Hecht sent one into the empty net with 19 seconds left to send the Oilers into the night grumbling.

The Sabres got the game’s first two goals but the Oilers connected on a late second-period 5-on-3 to make it 2-1 heading to the third.

Drew Stafford, who got three goals in the blowout at Rexall Place last year, flicked a 20-footer in traffic past Khabibulin in the first period. Early in the second frame, tough defenceman Steve Montador got his first of the year when he blew a 40-footer past the Oilers’ goalie after defenceman Steve Staios had just made a big block on Tim Connolly.

About this time, the Oilers had nothing going, but a string of power plays in the last half of the middle period got them back in the game. Jochen Hecht hooked down Dustin Penner, then Pao Gaustad chopped down Mike Comrie as he skated through the slot to give the Oilers a two-man advantage for 1:23.

O’Sullivan, who had hit the post on a perfect setup from Ales Hemsky earlier in the period, with goalie Ryan Miller getting a piece of the shot with his catching glove, made up for it when he blew a 40-footer past the netminder. It was his first goal in 10 games, going back to Oct. 19 against Vancouver.

ON THE BENCH — A host of NHL general managers drove up from Toronto where they had league meetings to watch the game. In all, with scouts, there were 38 team folks in the press box. . . . Oilers’ Shawn Horcoff (shoulder) skated Wednesday morning here, but didn’t play. Ditto for Sheldon Souray (concussion), although he’s close after missing the last 16 games. . . . This was only the fifth meeting between the clubs in the last seven years and first time the Oilers were here since Feb. 15, 2007. . . . The Oilers put seven-year veteran forward Adam Mair on waivers Tuesday but he cleared and is back on the roster, for now.

Edmonton Journal
 
 
 
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