The clash of the two worst teams in the NHL was played out tonight at the First Niagara Center in an epic battle of underdogs and underachievers.
The last place Buffalo Sabres fell to the second to last place Edmonton Oilers by a final of 3-2. Matt Hendricks got the game winner for the Oilers when he scored a breakaway goal while his team was a man down. Boyd Gordon made a great play to get the puck to Hendricks who snuck behind the Sabres defense at center ice, allowing him the breakaway opportunity for his fourth goal of the season.
Despite a season high 44 shots on goal, the Sabres were not able to get it done on the scoreboard. Edmonton improves to 19-33-6 and now sits six points ahead of the Sabres (15-32-8) in the league standings.
Ilya Bryzgalov remained solid in net for the Oilers, making 42 saves in the win.
The Oilers wasted no time getting ahead in this game, scoring within the first minute of play. On an Edmonton rush, David Perron played a puck off the boards to Nail Yakupov who just tipped the puck far enough for Jeff Petry to slide a backhand shot past the outstretched leg of Jhonas Enroth just 32 seconds into the game.
The Sabres answered back on the powerplay at 8:04 into the first. Tyler Myers fired a shot that was saved by Bryzgalov, but Steve Ott was there to put away the rebound for his ninth goal of the season. The play was reviewed to ensure it crossed the goal line before an Edmonton defender pulled it out, but it was confirmed a goal.
The Sabres were a man down when they took the lead late in the first period. At 19:04, Drew Stafford entered the Oilers zone on a 2-on-1 rush with Zemgus Girgensons and elected to take the shot which beat Bryzgalov on his high glove side for his eighth goal of the season. Girgensons was credited for an assist on the play as well as Mike Weber.
The Oilers came back to tie it up at 16:45 in the second period. On an offensive rush, David Perron made a cross ice pass to Justin Schultz who fired it over the right shoulder of Enroth for his eighth goal of the season.
Edmonton regained the lead in the third period with a breakaway goal at 00:57. While on the penalty kill, Matt Hendricks made a great play at center ice to get in behind Buffalo’s defense and put a move on Enroth for his fourth goal of the season.
Despite heavy offensive pressure in the third, the Sabres couldn’t find a way to tie it up.
Buffalo hopes to rebound against the Pittsburgh Penguins at home on Wednesday.