Two struggling teams will do battle tonight in Buffalo as the Sabres host the Edmonton Oilers in a Black Friday bout.
Buffalo defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen is set to make his return after missing the last nine games with an upper-body injury. He has not played since November 2. The Sabres defense has struggled without him, and with Connor McDavid coming to town, the arrival is most opportune.
The Sabres and Oilers have both struggled this season and its marquee matchup doesn’t seem that exciting as a result. Eichel vs. McDavid has been a highly anticipated battle each of the last two seasons, but with both not playing very well this season, it seems lesser as a result.
Eichel has only 18 points on the year, and while McDavid has 28, it is no where near where he was expected to be after winning the Hart Trophy as MVP last season. Perhaps each man will bring out the best in the other, they both could sure use it.
Buffalo has lost seven straight games and needs a win in a very big way. Inconsistent goaltending has been a major reason for that and tonight’s starter (TBA still) will have his hands full with McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and company. The defense has not been much better and Ristolainen will hopefully be a boost. He’s the team’s best defender by far and carries a lot of weight. The Sabres blue line has struggled to produce this year and its top minutes eater and contributor being gone has not helped. Risto will be looking to help his team score and resume his rivalry with Milan Lucic as well.
I’ll be in attendance for my yearly game, so I obviously am hoping to see a win. If the Sabres want to regain their season at all they are going to have to start stringing some momentum together.