By JEFF BARTL STATS Writer
Edmonton (15-19-3) at Buffalo (17-17-4), 7:00 p.m. EDT
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(notes), who suffered an upper-body injury in Friday’s 3-1 loss at Washington. Making matters worse, Brad Boyes(notes) - who scored in Saturday’s loss - and Jason Pominville(notes) left Monday’s practice early.
“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(notes), 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.
Also uncertain to play is rookie sensation Ryan Nugent-Hopkins(notes), 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(notes) scored, Taylor Hall(notes) had a goal and an assist and Jordan Eberle(notes) 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(notes) made 39 saves in his second straight start in place of the struggling Nikolai Khabibulin(notes) (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.