Lucic, Kassian combine for 4 goals as Oilers top Sabres 7-2
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Two players mired in major scoring slumps provided plenty of offense for the Edmonton Oilers on Monday.
Milan Lucic and Zack Kassian each scored a pair of goals as the Oilers defeated the Buffalo Sabres 7-2.
“It feels good as an individual to pop a couple tonight, but the most important thing is that we got the two points in the standings,” said Lucic, who had two goals in the entire calendar year of 2018. “I’m not even going to go into 2018, there is lots to play for in 2019 to get ourselves back in the mix and now it is about stringing a few wins together moving forward.”
Kassian was also relieved to see a couple of goals go in.
“It is nice to chip in two goals,” he said. “I don’t think I have ever had a stretch where I had gone 40-plus games and had only two goals before. It is nice to score goals, it’s the National Hockey League. Hopefully the floodgates open now.”
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl also scored for the Oilers, who have won two of their last three.
Casey Mittelstadt and Evan Rodrigues scored for the struggling Sabres, who have lost three straight.
“It seems like our mistakes right now, every single one ends up in our net,” Buffalo captain Jack Eichel said. “You know you’re going to make mistakes over the course of the game and the magnitude of the mistakes are probably too big.
“It’s frustrating. It’s a rough patch for our group right now. We have to find a way out of it and we have to stick together.”
The Sabres kicked off the flurry of scoring by making good on the first shot, exactly one minute in, when Mittelstadt tipped a shot past Oilers starting goalie Mikko Koskinen.
However, Edmonton pulled even on the game’s second shot a minute-and-a-half later when a shot by Kassian ticked off a Sabres’ stick and past Buffalo netminder Carter Hutton.
The Oilers also scored on their second shot, 50 seconds later, when Nugent-Hopkins deflected in a shot by Caleb Jones for his 15th of the season.
Edmonton made it 3-1 before the game was even five minutes old when Tobias Rieder found Kassian in front and he scored his second of the game and fourth of the season into a wide open net.
The Sabres got one back nine minutes into the first after a giveaway led to a goal by Rodrigues.
The Oilers added to their total just 24 seconds into the second as McDavid shrugged off a trip for a clear breakaway, scoring his 28th of the season.
Edmonton made it 5-2 five minutes into the middle frame when Lucic picked off a pass and scored.
Linus Ullmark replaced Hutton in the Buffalo net.
Lucic scored his second of the game four minutes into the third, giving him three goals in his last four games after scoring only two goals in his previous 91 games.
The Oilers continued their offensive outburst a couple minutes later when Draisaitl scored his 24th.
NOTES: Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom (hand) is expected to soon have medical clearance to begin skating and is hopeful he’ll rejoin the team for practices ahead of the all-star break and make his full return after that.
Sabres: At Calgary on Wednesday.
Oilers: At Vancouver on Wednesday.
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