Stafford, Sabres get by slumping OilersJan 4, 2012 - 4:07 AM
Nathan Gerbe finished with a goal and an assist, while Jordan Leopold and Jason Pominville also lit the lamp for Buffalo, which snapped a three-game skid.
Rookie Brayden McNabb added a pair of assists and Ryan Miller made 23 saves in the victory.
Taylor Hall, Sam Gagner and Corey Potter scored, while Ales Hemsky chipped in with two assists for the Oilers, who have lost four of their last five contests. Nikolai Khabibulin was tagged for all four goals on 33 shots in defeat.
Buffalo took the lead for good at 14:34 of the third period when Derek Roy brought the puck into the offensive zone on the right wing, swung wide and backhanded a shot on net that was stopped by Khabibulin. The puck sat in the slot before Stafford spotted it and popped it into the net.
Just over two minutes later, the Sabres made it 4-2 when Gerbe picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and raced in on a breakaway before lifting the puck over the left shoulder of the Oilers' netminder.
"Anytime we win, it's a good feeling," Gerbe said. "We just have to keep the confidence high and keep it rolling."
The Oilers fought back to make it a one-goal game with 1:50 left in regulation when Potter found a loose puck in the slot and deposited it past Miller.
Edmonton pulled Khabibulin with 1:13 left and got a couple shots on net in the final minute, but was unable to generate any serious scoring chances.
"I thought we gave Buffalo everything they could handle," Oilers head coach Tom Renney said. "It was a winnable game for us. Obviously we didn't, but I thought we played well. I'd like to see a bit more traffic at the net, but I thought we played a very organized game."
Edmonton opened the scoring at the 10:33 mark of the opening stanza when Hall accepted a pass on the left wing from Hemsky and fired a quick wrister that went over the left shoulder of Miller to give the Oilers the early 1-0 lead.
Buffalo knotted the game at one just under four minutes later when Jochen Hecht led a 3-on-2 rush up the ice and dished to Pominville on the right wing just inside the blue line. Pominville glided to the right circle and snapped off a quick shot that beat Khabibulin to the far side, catching the inside of the post before going in.
The Sabres grabbed the lead 5:10 into the second period when Leopold took a pass from Stafford in the left circle and slapped it past Khabibulin high to the glove side for a 2-1 advantage.
Sabres' forward Patrick Kaleta was called for charging at 8:05 of the third period and just 1:05 later, the Sabres were assessed a bench minor for too many men on the ice, giving the Oilers a two-man advantage.
The Oilers would take advantage of the situation when Gagner blasted one home from the high slot to tie the game at two at 9:24 of the second period.
Miller improved to 6-0-0 in his career against the Oilers...Edmonton played without star rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who missed the game with a shoulder injury suffered on Monday in a 4-3 win over Chicago...Tuesday marked the only meeting of the season between these two teams...Edmonton finished 1-for-3 on the power play, while Buffalo was 0-for-2 with the man advantage...The Sabres will face Carolina on Friday, while Edmonton will play St. Louis on Thursday.
- EDMONTON: 3
Jan 3 9:24 PM
- EDMONTON: 3
3rd Period - 1:50
Oilers 3, Sabres 4 3rd - 1:50Jan 3 9:21 PM
- Buffalo Goal - Nathan Gerbe (4), from Drew Stafford at 16:38.
Oilers 2, Sabres 4 3rd - 3:22Jan 3 9:17 PM
- Sam Gagner wrist shot on Ryan Miller.
Oilers 2, Sabres 3 3rd - 3:55Jan 3 9:16 PM
- EDMONTON: 2
End of 2nd
Jan 3 8:34 PM
- Edmonton Power-Play Goal - Sam Gagner (5), from Jeff Petry and Ales Hemsky at 9:24.
Oilers 2, Sabres 2 2nd - 10:36Jan 3 8:16 PM
- Buffalo Goal - Jordan Leopold (7), from Drew Stafford and Brayden McNabb at 5:10.
Oilers 1, Sabres 2 2nd - 14:50Jan 3 8:06 PM
- EDMONTON: 1
End of 1st
Jan 3 7:41 PM
- Buffalo Goal - Jason Pominville (13), from Jochen Hecht and Brayden McNabb at 14:23.
Oilers 1, Sabres 1 1st - 5:37Jan 3 7:30 PM
- Edmonton Goal - Taylor Hall (12), from Ales Hemsky at 10:33.
Oilers 1, Sabres 0 1st - 9:27Jan 3 7:23 PM
- EDMONTON: 0
1st Period - 20:00
Jan 3 7:08 PM
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