Sabres, Oilers clash in meeting of basement dwellers

( - The Buffalo Sabres will try to end the longest losing streak in franchise history when they visit the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday in a meeting between teams sitting last in their respective conferences.

Buffalo has lost 12 straight -- all in regulation -- for the longest slide in club annals. The Sabres, who haven't won since Dec. 27 against the New York Islanders, also are mired in the NHL's longest pointless stretch since the Pittsburgh Penguins lost 13 in a row in regulation from Jan. 13-Feb. 12, 2004.

A loss of any kind tonight also would give Buffalo the longest winless stretch in team history. With Tuesday's 4-1 loss at Calgary, the Sabres matched the dubious franchise mark set from Nov. 23-Dec.20, 1991, when Buffalo went 0-8 with four ties during a 12-game span.

Buffalo enters tonight's tilt with an NHL-low 31 points, two less than the Oilers, who are last in the Western Conference. Edmonton beat the Sabres earlier this season, posting a 3-2 regulation win in Western New York on Nov. 7. That was the Oilers' second victory in the past three meetings after losing their previous six encounters with Buffalo.

The Sabres have won four straight in Edmonton, but Buffalo has lost 12 straight (0-11-1) on the road. Buffalo's last win away from First Niagara Center came in Montreal on Nov. 29.

Buffalo held a 1-0 lead Tuesday in Calgary, but the Flames scored the next four goals to skate away with an easy win.

Chris Stewart netted the lone goal for the Sabres, while Jhonas Enroth stopped 27 shots in the setback.

"They turned it up a notch and we just couldn't keep up," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said.

Buffalo is playing the third part of a five-game road trip tonight. Nolan's club will continue the swing tomorrow in Vancouver before capping it Tuesday in Montreal.

The Oilers had won two straight before the All-Star break but lost their first game after the hiatus, dropping Tuesday's 2-1 decision against visiting Minnesota. Charlie Coyle scored the game-winning goal with 4:23 remaining in the third period.

Boyd Gordon provided Edmonton's lone goal and Viktor Fasth stopped 27-of-29 shots in defeat.

"We were flat and we have to respond next game," said Gordon. "We've been playing well as of late and we saw that more in the third."

After tonight, Edmonton will play two straight and eight of its next nine on the road. The road-heavy stretch begins Saturday in Calgary.