EDMONTON — Connor McDavid is at a loss. He can’t explain why his Edmonton Oilers can be so flat-footed.
Jack Eichel had a goal and three assists and Ryan O’Reilly scored twice as the Sabres earned an easy 5-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.
Cam Talbot started in net for Edmonton and stopped 18-of-22 shots in 31:32 of work before Al Montoya turned aside 11-of-12 in relief for the Oilers (21-24-3), who had a three-game winning streak snapped. It was the sixth time this season that Edmonton has been shut out.
“Obviously if we knew (what was wrong), we would fix it,” said McDavid. “We would stop having performances like this. For some reason, we just don’t get up for games. It’s unacceptable on everyone’s part and it starts at the top.”
Sam Reinhart had a goal and two assists and Zemgus Girgensons also scored for the Sabres (13-26-9), who won their second game in a row for just the second time on the season. The first time they won back-to-back games this season was Oct. 21 and 24.
“It’s big,” Eichel said. “We come in on a back-to-back against a team that is probably energized, they had a few days (off), we had an emotional win (over Calgary) last night, so we want to come and play a good road first and obviously to get a power play goal early, to get yourself feeling good, it’s important.”
Robin Lehner made 33 saves to earn his second shutout of the season for the Sabres.
“We know where we’re at and it’s not just one game that’s going to do anything at this point, we need to be consistent and all we can do is take it day by day and this was another step for us,” Reinhart said. “Right now, we’re all on the same page and I think that was evident tonight.”
The game’s first goal didn’t come until there were five minutes left in the first period as Buffalo’s Reinhart tipped a Rasmus Ristolainen power-play point shot that hit Oilers goalie Cam Talbot and trickled across the goal line before he could get back to fish it out.
Buffalo benefited from a sloppy start to the second by Edmonton to make it 2-0 as O’Reilly scored his 12th of the season on a rebound just 17 seconds into the period.
The Sabres padded their lead 6:30 into the second as a puck caromed in off of Girgensons’s skate and into the net on a two-on-one break.
They made it 4-0 with another power-play goal 12 minutes into the second as Eichel rifled a shot into the top corner. Montoya came in to replace Talbot after the goal.
The Sabres added yet another power-play goal against Edmonton’s worst home penalty killing unit before the second period was over, O’Reilly’s second of the game.
“Horrendous. The penalty-kill was horrendous,” said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan. “Guys didn’t do their jobs, were reacting slow and our power play did nothing to create any momentum.”
There was no scoring in the third.
Both teams return to action on Thursday, as the Oilers play host to the Calgary Flames. The Sabres head to Vancouver to face the Canucks.
Notes: It was the final of two meetings this season between the two teams, with the Sabres winning the previous encounter 3-1 on Nov. 24 in Buffalo… The Oilers were without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (ribs), while Buffalo didn’t have the services of Zach Bogosian (lower body) or Josh Gorges (illness).