Ristolainen returns tonight against the Oilers

November 24, 2017

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Two sliding teams meet tonight as the Sabres host Edmonton. Buffalo has lost seven in a row (0-5-2), while the Oilers have lost five-of-seven (2-4-1).

Buffalo get Rasmus Ristolainen back. He’s missed nine games with an upper-body injury. He’ll replace Josh Gorges. Phil Housley said Ristolainen will play in all situations.

The Sabres had a team meeting after another subpar performance on Wednesday against Minnesota. Two-time Stanley Cup winner Jordan Nolan said the reason the Kings won those Cups is they held each other accountable in the room. Nolan feels the Sabres don’t do enough of that, but tonight’s starting goalie Robin Lehner thinks the players need to hold themselves accountable, “Obviously we aren’t good enough right now, in this season so far. Not to paint a nice picture, but everyone’s got to look at themselves and be better and I think when you show it at times, you can do it and it’s everyone.

“Everyone’s got to look in the mirror and see what we can do differently and if everyone asks themselves the question every day, if we did enough, I think it’ll get better. We just haven’t been holding up and we all have to do better.”

Benoit Pouliot is facing his old team tonight and he bristled when it was asked if the players here can actually do it, “100 percent we can, we’ve got great players, a good team. I’ve been on a lot of teams and this team is very skilled, very hard working, we’ve just got to work in the game like we do in practice and we’ll be fine.

“It’s a lot of mental stuff as opposed to physical, I think it’s all up in our heads right now and we’ve got to figure it out.”

Pouliot said this kind of thing happens around the NHL. He dealt with it with the Oilers, “I’ve been in this situation before, especially in Edmonton, my first year was the same thing, things weren’t going well, it was a battle all year long, but we didn’t have the players like we do on this team, so we can turn things around very quickly here and that’s what we’ll do.”

Lehner gets the call in net. He’s lost the last five games he’s played in. He took the loss against the Wild despite coming in for Chad Johnson for the final two periods.

It looks like Seth Griffith and Matt Moulson will be Buffalo’s other scratches.

Edmonton comes in with four more points than Buffalo.

Connor McDavid is 6th in league scoring with 10 goals and 18 assists for 28 points in 22 games. The Oilers captain has five goals and seven assist for 12 points in his last nine games.

Drake Caggiula has four points in his last three games.

Another first overall pick, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins eight points in his last eight games.

Milan Lucic has been on a pretty good role lately with nine points in 11 games.

Cam Talbot has struggled this year. He’s 8-10-1 with a 3.13 goals against and .901 save percentage. Talbot only gave up two goals in beating Detroit on Wednesday, but before that, he gave up two goals in 7:35 of work in St. Louis, six in Dallas and four at home against the Blues. Talbot won't play because he's battling the flu.

That puts Laurent Brossoit in the crease. He's 0-2-1 with a 3.62 goals against and .865 save percentage. Brossoit was a 6th round piack of the Flames in 2011. The 24-year-old came to the Oilers in a trade along with Roman Horak for Olivier Roy and Ladislav Smid.

Former Sabre Andrej Sekera has been out the whole season with an injury.

Join Schopp and the Bulldog at 6:00 for the pre-game, live from (716) Food and Sport. They’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Benoit Pouliot and Robin Lehner.


Tonight’s lines:

Kane - Eichel - Pominville

Pouliot - O’Reilly - Reinhart

Girgensons - Larsson - Criscuolo

Nolan - Josefson - Okposo


Scandella - Ristolainen

Beaulieu - Falk

McCabe - Antipin