By Mike Harrington
Some pretty interesting numbers heading into tonight's Draft Bowl, the first of two meetings this year between the 29th-place Edmonton Oilers and 30th-place Buffalo Sabres:
---The teams haven't met in more than two years, since a 4-3 Sabres win here on Jan. 3, 2012. Buffalo has won the last six meetings -- and the Oilers haven't beaten the Sabres since Oct. 16, 2003 at Rexall Place. They haven't won in Buffalo since March 4, 2002. Ryan Miller has started all six of those games, going 6-0, 1.67 and .943 but Jhonas Enroth is starting tonight against Ilya Bryzgalov.
---Matt Moulson, who is injured and won't play tonight, leads the Sabres with 33 points. The most among guys who have been in Buffalo all year is 29 by Cody Hodgson. The Oilers have four players with more points -- Taylor Hall (54), Jordan Eberle (45), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (42) and David Perron (39).
---The games features the NHL's bottom four players in plus-minus. Sabres captain Steve Ott is minus-24, defenseman Tyler Myers is minus-26 (including minus-11 in the last seven games), defenseman Mike Weber is minus-29 and Edmonton winger Nail Yakupov is minus-30. Holy moly.
---Who's leading after two periods is a key stat most nights. It seems doubly important tonight. Leading after two, Buffalo is 5-0-2 and Edmonton is 11-1-2. Trailing after two, the Sabres are 2-26-4 and the Oilers are 3-29-1. Yeesh.
---The Sabres are 5-12-1 against the West and the Oilers are 9-12-2 against the East.
---The Sabres have scored 99 goals this season (the standings show 105 because they count six shootout winners). Florida is the next lowest at 126. Edmonton has 145.
---Despite being in last place, the Sabres are only 19th in goals against with 157 (thank you, Ryan Miller). Edmonton is dead last at 192 and the Sabres are averaging 2.8 goals over their last 10 games, a pretty good clip.
---The Oilers are 19th on the power play (17.7 percent) and 17th on the penalty kill (80.9) but they're just 28th on the road on the PP (11.6). The Sabres are 24th overall on the PP (14.7) and 15th on the PK (81.3).
---The Oilers are coming off Saturday's 4-0 loss at Boston that snapped a three-game winning streak. Prior to that run, they had been on hellacious slumps of 2-8-3 and 4-14-3.
---Edmonton was buried early, just like the Sabres. The Oilers started 1-6-1 and were 4-15-2 on Nov. 15. The Sabres were also 1-6-1 at one point en route to 1-9-1, and were 4-15-1 when Ron Rolston was fired on Nov. 13. and Ted Nolan coached his first game two days later.