Back-to-back games can be grueling. At least for the Buffalo Sabres it gives them opportunity to get over a disappointing loss rather quickly.
After the Sabres dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Washington Captials Monday, they return to KeyBank Center to host the Edmonton Oilers at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The Sabres play a league-high 19 sets of back-to-back games. This will be their third of the season. The Sabres are 1-1-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.
Here are five things to know for tonight's game:
1. Jack Eichel is playing. Stand down on any rumors about the centerman's ankle. He told reporters Tuesday morning he is playing. For the full report on Eichel, see John Vogl's story.
2. Connor McDavid is really good. Granted, you already knew this. But in case you needed a reminder, McDavid leads the NHL in scoring with 34 points in 27 games. He also leads the league in assists with 23, multi-point games (10) along with six three-point games.
McDavid, however, was held off the scoresheet when the teams met back in October. How did the Sabre do that?
"Get on top of the speed that Connor has," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "It's not just Connor. They gather a lot of speed from below and they're tough to handle once they're in full flight. I thought we did a good job of getting on top and disrupting the speed and getting in his ice early and often. That's not an easy task to do. He's got speed 200 feet away from the goalie. He gets that speed, demonstrates that speed and that's something that's not going to fall on just one guy tonight to do. That's going to be five guys."
3. Buffalo won the first meeting. The Sabres beat the Oilers in Edmonton, 6-2, in Oct. 16. If the Sabres win on Tuesday, it will be the first time Buffalo has defeated the Oilers twice in a season since 1985-86. In their last 13 games against Edmonton, the Oilers are 8-4-1 with a plus-16 goal differential.
4. Former Sabre Andrej Sekera on verge of milestone. Sekera has 199 career NHL points. The first 92 of those came while he was a defenseman with the Buffalo Sabres. He scored 16 goals with 75 assists in 339 regular-season games with the Sabres. In 27 games with the Oilers this season, he has three goals and seven assists with a plus-nine rating. In 11 NHL seasons he has 40 goals and 159 assists. His 595 career games rank fifth all-time in games played by a Slovakian defenseman.
5. The Oilers are good on the road. Edmonton has the best road record in the NHL with an 8-4-2 mark for a .643 winning percentage. On the road the Oilers have the most goals (45), the fourth-best power play (26.8 percent) and the second-most power-play goals (11).