October 16, 2016 - 9:24 PM
EDMONTON - Coach Todd McLellan didn't see his club as a pro hockey team on Sunday.
Ryan O'Reilly had two goals and two assists as the Buffalo Sabres won their first game of the season, pounding McLellan's Oilers 6-2 in Edmonton.
"We looked like the Bad News Bears," he said. "We had guys falling all over the place. We didn't execute. Our passing was poor. From the goaltender to the blue line to the forwards, nobody was ready to play.
"We can't handle prosperity yet. We just go kicked right between the legs and we deserved it.
O'Reilly's four-point effort came alongside new linemate Kyle Okposo, a free agent signing who played his first game after missing Buffalo's opener with a sore knee.
"He (O'Reilly) might not get as much recognition as he should, but he's such a heady player," said Okposo, who had a goal and an assist in his Sabres debut. "He's such a smart player, you can see it when you play against him and just playing with him, he makes so many little plays, never puts you in a bad spot, he's an easy guy to play with."
O'Reilly said he also felt very comfortable playing with Okposo.
"He's huge, a big reason why we won tonight," he said. "That was my first time getting to play with him, obviously I enjoy it. He does so much out there, he plays such a strong game and to impact the lineup like he did tonight was huge and that's what we need."
Brian Gionta also scored twice, while Matt Moulson had the other goal for the Sabres (1-1-0).
Benoit Pouliot and Milan Lucic replied for the Oilers (2-1-0), who had won back-to-back games before the loss.
"We have to get off our high horse now," said captain Connor McDavid, held scoreless after six points in his first two games.
Buffalo started the scoring 2:37 into the first period as Sam Reinhart made a nice feed across to Okposo and he beat Oilers goalie Cam Talbot for his first as a Sabre.
The Sabres went up 2-0 seven minutes in, as Okoposo made a great pass while on the power play to O'Reilly at the back door.
Edmonton got one back with three minutes left in the opening frame when the rebound off a Zack Kassian shot went off the leg of a hard-charging Pouliot and past Sabres goalie Robin Lehner.
The Oilers tied the game with one minute left in the period as the big rebound from a Leon Draisaitl shot came out to Lucic, who scored his first goal as an Oiler and the 400th point of his career.
Buffalo got a freebie four minutes into the second when O'Reilly took a shot from Buffalo's side of centre that Talbot badly misjudged and ended up tipping into his own net.
The Sabres restored their two-goal lead midway through the second when Gionta tipped in a Johan Larsson point shot, prompting Edmonton to bring in backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who would then end up leaving near the end of the period with an undisclosed injury. There was no immediate update on Gustavsson's injury or status.
With Talbot back in net, the Sabres made it 5-2 just 37 seconds into the third. Gionta tucked a shot between Talbot's legs on Buffalo's 16th shot of the game.
The Sabres kept it coming with a Moulson power-play goal four minutes later.
Lehner finished with 31 saves while Talbot allowed six goals on 23 shots.
Both teams return to the ice on Tuesday. The Sabres travel to Calgary while the Oilers remain home to welcome the Carolina Hurricanes.
Notes: The Sabres were without a pair of big-name players up front with centre Jack Eichel out an expected 6-8 weeks with an ankle sprain and forward Evander Kane likely out several weeks with broken ribs.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016