5 observations: Sabres 6-2 win over Oilers

5 observations: Sabres 6-2 win over Oilers
Posted at 10:18 PM, Oct 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-16 22:18:11-04

Maybe a trip to Western Canada was just what the Buffalo Sabres needed. Sunday, aside from a three minute span in the late first period, Buffalo dominated, knocking off the Edmonton Oilers 6-2.

The Sabres looked better in every aspect of the game than they did Thursday when they opened the season — and now move to 1-1. Five observations from Sunday’s win:

Welcome to Buffalo, Kyle Okposo

In his first game wearing a Sabres sweater Kyle Okposo was paired on a line with Sam Reinhart and Ryan O’Reilly. It only took two shifts for Okposo to get on the scoresheet — finishing off a perfect pass from Sam Reinhart in the first period to get the Sabres first of the night. A few minutes later, the Sabres found themselves on the power-play — and once again, Okposo helped get the Sabres on the board. This time, It was a perfect pass from Okposo to Ryan O’Reilly, making it 2-0 Buffalo. The line cooled off for a bit at the end of the first period but was still able to generate some quality chances. Moving forward, expect to see more and more of this line while Jack Eichel and Evander Kane remain sidelined. The Sabres will need this line to stay hot and build chemistry over the next few weeks. If they do, the Sabres may be able to win some games. If they don’t, it may be a long season.

Foligno-Larsson-Gionta. They’ve got chemistry.

This line just doesn’t have nearly as much talent as the Okposo,O’Reilly and Reinhart line but tonight, they were Buffalo’s best. During the second half of last season Foligno, Larsson and Gionta were on fire and Sunday they looked just as good, if not better. Brian Gionta finished with two goals while Foligno and Larsson both tallied an assist. Without Eichel and Kane this line will need to step things up. If Sunday is any indication of what’s to come, I like their chances.

Rasmus Ristolainen quietly producing

Apparently Rasmus Ristolainen didn’t need the preseason. Sunday, Ristolainen finished with three assists and is now the Sabres leading scorer. Defensively, Ristolainen has had ups and downs in the Sabres first two games but he’s been impressive, especially when you consider he signed his contract a few days before the regular season started.

Lehner gives up juicy rebounds

Overall, I think Lehner had a pretty good game, especially in the second and third periods. While I liked Lehner’s overall game — both Edmonton goals came on juicy rebounds that Lehner could have controlled better. It’s impossible for a goaltender to swallow up every shot and never allow a rebound, but you’d like to see a better effort by Lehner, maybe directing the puck into safer spot on the ice, not right out in front of the net. Aside from that — Buffalo has to like what they saw Sunday night. The 25-year-old finished with 31 saves and made some incredible stops when the game was still ‘close’. I’d expect Lehner and Nilsson to split the next two games.

Where was McDavid?

In the first two games of the NHL season 2015 first overall pick Connor McDavid has arguably been the most explosive player in the league. Sunday, he was nowhere to be found. Buffalo was able to shut down the dynamic forward and only allowed McDavid to register one shot. Before the game I joked that McDavid would score three or four against the Sabres. I was clearly wrong. Buffalo won’t see McDavid and the Oilers again until December 6th. McDavid vs. Eichel Round 2?

Buffalo continues their Western Canada road trip Tuesday when they take on the Calgary Flames. 

Follow Matt Bove on Twitter!