Buffalo Sabres slice up Edmonton Oilers

The Buffalo Sabres celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during second period NHL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Tuesday January 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

In a season full of disappointments, the Edmonton Oilers sank deeper into misery Tuesday night at Rogers Place, getting hammered 5-0 by the lowly Buffalo Sabres.

The Sabres, who had just 12 wins in 47 games coming into the contest, were the infinitely superior team.

“It was pretty clear with the effort — I don’t think we had enough respect for this hockey team and it ended up biting us,” Oilers forward Milan Lucic said after the game. “You can’t afford to lose games like this. No disrespect to them, against teams like this where you should have two points at least in the season series against them and we come up with zero. It goes to show why we are where we are.”

“I’m not sure what words to use to describe it,” Oilers head coach Todd McLellan added. “It just doesn’t feel very good right now, obviously, deep in the gut. For anyone that watched it, it was quite disappointing.”

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The Sabres opened the scoring on a power play with just over five minutes left in the first period. With Adam Larsson in the box for an offensive zone hooking penalty, Sam Reinhart tipped a Rasmus Ristolainen point shot past Cam Talbot. Jack Eichel earned an assist to stretch his point streak to seven games.

The rout was on in the second period with the Sabres getting two goals from Ryan O’Reilly and one each from Zemgus Girgensons and Eichel. Talbot was pulled 11:39 into the frame, having allowed four goals on 22 shots. Al Montoya took over in net.

Eichel finished with a goal and three assists. Reinhart had a goal and two assists. Robin Lehner made 33 saves for the shutout.

The Oilers’ league-worst penalty kill allowed three goals against on four Buffalo power plays, sinking to 54.2 per cent on home ice.

“The penalty kill was horrendous. Guys not doing their jobs. Reacting slow,” McLellan said.

“Special teams again, its killing us this year,” forward Patrick Maroon added. “We are all out there trying our best and giving it our all but maybe the power play and the penalty kill gives us no life.”

The Oilers (21-24-3) will host Calgary on Thursday.

-With files from Brenden Ullrich

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