April 16th, 2024

Oilers pummel Sabres 8-3 behind five-goal third period

By Shane Jones, The Canadian Press on March 21, 2024.

Buffalo Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (1) is scored on as Henri Jokiharju (10) and Edmonton Oilers' Zach Hyman (18) battle in front during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Thursday March 21, 2024.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON – Mattias Ekholm had two goals and one assist, Connor McDavid dished out four helpers and the Edmonton Oilers battled back from an early deficit to pummel the Buffalo Sabres 8-3 on Thursday.

Zach Hyman, with two goals, Leon Draisaitl, with a goal and two assists, Darnell Nurse, Ryan McLeod and Connor Brown also scored for Edmonton (42-21-4), which had five goals in the third period.

Stuart Skinner made 26 saves.

The Oilers have won two straight and improved to 9-1-2 in their last 12 outings.

J.J. Peterka, with two goals, and Victor Olofsson scored for Buffalo (33-33-5), which has lost three of its last four games.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 31 shots.

Peterka opened the scoring just 1:38 into the opening period. An Edmonton turnover allowed Alex Tuch to chip it across to a wide-open Peterka in front of the Oilers net and he whacked in his 22nd of the season.

The Sabres looked to have taken a two-goal lead just past the midway mark of the frame after Rasmus Dahlin snapped a shot past Skinner. However, a video review quickly determined that the play was offside and the goal was overturned.

But with 3:26 to play in the first, Olofsson put Buffalo ahead 2-0. He was first to a loose puck in front and whipped around and fired his seventh of the campaign up high past Skinner.

Draisaitl got Edmonton on the board on the power play with 1:05 to play in the period. His one-timer trickled underneath Luukkonen for his 35th.

The Oilers pulled even 4:26 into the second period as Ekholm opted to shoot on a 2-on-1, cashing in on a shot through traffic.

Peterka restored Buffalo’s lead with 3:04 to play in the middle frame. He half-fanned on a shot that got past Skinner for his second of the game.

Hyman tied the game up with 48 seconds left in the second period. Ekholm’s point blast went in off of Hyman in front.

The Oilers took their first lead of the evening 4:38 into the third period. Nurse’s shot clipped a defender and got past Luukkonen for his ninth. Troy Stecher got the assist for his first point as an Oiler since arriving from Arizona at the trade deadline.

Ekholm made it 5-3 just 62 seconds later. Draisaitl made a beautiful backhand drop pass to Ekholm who unleashed a howitzer from the slot for his second of the game and seventh of the season.

Hyman netted his second with 4:22 left to play. McDavid picked up his fourth assist of the contest with a pass from behind the goal line out front to Hyman, who scored his 48th of the year.

The Oilers continued to pour it on with McLeod notching his 12th of the season with 3:02 remaining.

Brown followed up with his second of the season, and in his last three games, after ending a 72-game goalless drought that extended back almost two full years on March 13 against Washington.


Edmonton entered the contest with a 13-2-2 record in its last 17 home games. “¦ Stecher remained in the Edmonton lineup with defenceman Vincent Desharnais nursing a hand injury.


Sabres: Complete a five-game road trip in Calgary against the Flames on Sunday.

Oilers: Begin a three-game road swing in Toronto against the Maple Leafs on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 21, 2024.

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