09 December 2019 04:40
EDMONTON – Ralph Krueger isn't surprised to see Leon Draisaitl emerge as one of the NHL's top scorers. When the Edmonton Oilers' star was 20, he was a relative unknown playing with established standouts on Team Europe in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Speaking Sunday a few hours before meeting the Oilers as the coach of the Buffalo Sabres, Krueger remembered how tough it was for a kid in the pre-tournament schedule against Team North America and Sweden. "He had a couple tough games against North America and then against Sweden he gets a hat trick," Krueger recalled in Rogers Place. Krueger had Team Europe assistant and current Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice work directly with Draisaitl in that tournament.
"I thought Paul did a really good job helping Leon understand what it took to play the best teams in the world. I think Leon took a lot of lessons out of the World Cup into his game here in Edmonton." "I only had a short time with him at the World Cup, but he's a great communicator," Draisaitl said. Sunday was Krueger's first game in Edmonton since he was fired in 2013 after one season as the Oilers coach that followed two years as an assistant. "I wouldn't be standing here today as head coach of the Buffalo Sabres without that experience and I think that experience helped me a lot to do what I did in the English Premier League and understand athletes at this level." Krueger worked hard with the Oilers' young players in 2013, notably Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Here we are with a Sunday Funday edition of the GDB to get ourselves prepped for tonight's matchup between the Edmonton Oilers and the Buffalo Sabres.
Kyle Okposo scored in his first game back from injury, Rasmus Ristolainen did something good, and Marcus Johansson got some of his MoJo back! Minus-1: Goaltending Defensive slip-ups like the Marco Scandella play on the Canucks' early goal just can't happen, but the team also needs to be able to rely on its goaltending to make those saves. The same can be said for the overtime, game-winning goal. As bad as it was for Henri Jokiharju to get called for a penalty in overtime, the play happened to try to allow Eichel to make the shot. Game Day Prediction: Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl shine and the Oilers wrap up the weekend with a 5-3 win.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Riley Sheahan gets his first goal as an Oiler. The Buffalo Sabres (13-11-6) host the Edmonton Oilers (18-10-3) at Rogers Place Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. We analyze the Sabres-Oilers odds and lines while providing NHL betting tips around this matchup. Place a sports bet on this hockey action or other games at BetMGM. Sabres at Oilers: Odds, picks and betting tips Buffalo yields 3.5 goals per game on the road and a 73.6% penalty kill (30th in the NHL). Edmonton allows 3.29 goals per game at home. The Oilers have the best power play in the league at 32.2% with Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid leading the way. Buffalo was able to grab a point against the Calgary Flames, despite a disappointing overtime loss - which featured a waived off game-winning goal. Edmonton is one of the best teams in the Western Conference and the Oilers find themselves deadly on both the power play and penalty kill. Olofsson is now up to 12 goals and 14 assists (26 points) through his first 30 games this season. In his coaching days in Germany, with the Swiss national team, certainly here with Edmonton Oilers during that 2012-2013 lockout season when they came close to the playoffs, the kids not only loved him but played hard and well for him. "Every time I run into an Oiler … Taylor Hall a few days ago against New Jersey, or Jeff Petry (Montreal) or Jordan Eberle (Islanders), or if I see Sam Gagner and Nuge (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) (Sunday) at the rink, there's always hugs and smiles and laughing," said the Sabres coach. "One hundred percent I needed the Oiler experience to prove I could be a head coach in the National Hockey League," said Krueger, who was Tom Renney's right-hand man for two years, then moved up when Renney wasn't rehired by then GM Steve Tambellini.