Oilers speared by Sabres 4-2
|Edmonton's Dustin Penner fires home the first goal of the game vs. Buffalo Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010. The Sabres battled back for a 4-2 win over the Oilers. (Photo by Dylan Lynch / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
Despite scoring the first goal of the game and out-shooting their opponents 31-21, the Oilers were unable to secure two points and dropped a 4-2 decision to the Sabres Tuesday night. Dustin Penner
and Ryan Jones
scored for Edmonton, Jeff Petry
recorded his first NHL point in his NHL debut, and Nikolai Khabibulin
made 17 saves in the loss.
Under the Scope
The Oilers maintained possession after opening face-off, and 1:27 in, the club's selfishness paid off. After Ales Hemsky
battled to keep the puck in the offensive zone, Penner grabbed it and snapped it past Ryan Miller to give the Oil an early 1-0 lead.
Edmonton fired three more attempts on Miller before Buffalo's Jordan Leopold registered the visitors' first shot. Khabibulin turned that one away, plus another sneaky wraparound attempt by Mike Grier, to maintain his club's lead.
In the latter half of the period, the Sabres took control and evened up the shots. With five minutes remaining on the clock, Oilers defender Ryan Whitney
suffered a right ankle injury and headed to the dressing room. It was later announced that he would not return to the game.
Luke Adam capitalized on the veteran's absence, firing past a sliding Khabibulin to even the score 1-1 in the frame's final two minutes.
Less than a minute later, the visitors crafted a two-man breakaway, but Khabibulin came up with a big pad stop to ensure an even playing field at the start of the second period.
Early in the middle frame, the Sabres added two shots to their tally and, at 3:33, scored on a third. From the left point, Mike Weber wired the puck through traffic to put the visitors ahead 2-1.
Following the go-ahead goal, consecutive Buffalo penalties gave Edmonton the chance to tie it up. The club totalled two shots on the man-advantages, which were matched with saves by Miller.
Minor penalties to Hemsky and Craig Rivet concluded the second-period infractions. The Oilers regained control of the shot clock, but the extra attempts had no effect on the score and the Sabres carried their one-goal lead into the final frame.
Despite maintaining the edge in attempts, Edmonton fell further behind on the scoreclock 2:45 into the third. With help from Nathan Gerbe and Weber, Jochen Hecht tucked the puck just inside Khabibulin's left post to put Buffalo up 3-1.
But the Oilers soon got that one back. At 6:18, Petry got the puck to fellow d-man Tom Gilbert
, who fired on net from the far right side. The puck bounced off Jones' skate and under Miller, getting the Oil back within one and giving Petry a point in his first NHL game.
A fourth Oilers power-play near the period's midway point helped the home team hit 30 shots while the Sabres were stuck at 20.
Edmonton opted for an extra attacker in the final minute, but the strategy backfired as Weber registered his second goal of the game and his NHL career by sliding the puck into the empty net. The goal sealed a 4-2 win for Buffalo.
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