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McDavid looks for breakout, revenge against Sabres

Connor McDavid has 82 points in 72 career NHL games but has been held off the scoresheet in his last two outings. You know that's not likely to continue.

Words of warning to the Buffalo Sabres for Tuesday's game in KeyBank Center: McDavid has yet to have three straight pointless games in his NHL career and the Oilers are bent on avenging the 6-2 spanking they took from Buffalo in Edmonton on Oct. 16.

"We were just flat. It was a game we obviously didn't have it and they were well-rested and ready to go," McDavid said today in recalling the first meeting. "Kind of a different story here. They played last night, traveled and everything like that while we were here in bed early and ready to go."

The media horde was out today for the second career meeting between McDavid and Sabres standout Jack Eichel, although it wasn't the complete circus of their first meeting here in March. McDavid won that game with a spectacular overtime goal.

McDavid is used to it all, as the NHL scoring leader is obviously big news in every city he travels to.

"It seems like there's a new guy everywhere we go," McDavid said. "There's a lot of good players, a lot of good young players in the league. We do this a lot. It was a bit of a sideshow at times last year but now we can just focus on playing."

McDavid said he enjoyed playing with Eichel at the World Cup and has been impressed with the way the Sabres center has pushed forward since returning from his high ankle sprain.

"He's played great. It's a tough injury to come back from obviously," McDavid said. "Ankles like that really kind of stick with you for a while. He's done a great job coming back."

McDavid has 11 goals and 23 assists this season but was held pointless with only one shot on goal in the first meeting this year. The Oilers have done a solid job with their traveling road show thus far, going 8-4-2 on the road compared to just 6-6-1 at new Rogers Place.

"Guys are just looser. I don't know how to explain it," McDavid said. "You're a little bit more of going out there and playing and not worry about anything. Home ice can be a little bit of a burden in front of the fans, wanting to put on a good performance for them. Here it doesn't matter. It's about getting the win, doing whatever to get those two points."

Edmonton coach Todd McLellan, who coached McDavid and Eichel as the head man for Team North America at the World Cup, said he continues to push for more production from other players on his team.

"It always ends up being Connor and somebody," said McLellan. "Jack is a tremendous young player and they'll always be tied to the same draft but the way we view it is Edmonton and Buffalo – and Buffalo taught Edmonton a pretty good lesson a number of weeks ago. That lesson probably set us up to have a little bit of success moving forward.

"Every rink we go to, it's Connor vs. somebody and I certainly understand that. We sometimes struggle with that as a team. We've got to make sure it's an Edmonton vs. Buffalo situation."

 

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