The 12-game slate in the NHL will start with this conference clash in Buffalo, and here you can read the best Lightning vs. Sabres betting pick and odds.
Tampa Bay is hoping to avoid the fourth straight defeat when they visit Buffalo at Nationwide Arena. The Sabres are -172 moneyline favorites on DraftKings NY Sportsbook, while the total is set at 6.5 goals. These conference rivals will meet for the fourth time this year; the Lightning lead the series 2-1.
Lightning couldn’t edge the Penguins in OT
The Tampa Bay Lightning (37-19-3-2, 27-34 ATS) are going through their worst period of the campaign, they lost three straight games for the first time this season. While the losses against the Penguins and Panthers were well deserved, the Lightning fell short of the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime. We’ve seen some improvements from the Lightning on offense as they scored four goals for the first time in four games, but we can’t ignore the fact that Tampa Bay is going through the worst [period of the campaign with six losses in eight games.
Tampa Bay had a 1-0 lead at one point, but the visitors controlled the game until the Lightning answered with Victor Hedman’s equalizer, which sent the game to overtime. Brayden Point, Mikhail Sergachyov, and Steven Stamkos contributed two points apiece in a 5-4 loss. This season, Nikita Kucherov is not only the Lightning’s top producer when it comes to points, but he is also the third-best player in the NHL with 87 points (G 23, A 64). Brayden Point has 72 (G 38, A 34), and Steven Stamkos chips in 64 points (G 27, A 47).
Andrei Vasilevskiy (28-15-3) is taking his place between the sticks against Buffalo on Saturday. The 28-year-old is allowing 2.61 goals per game with a .917 SV% and two shutouts.
D Erik Cernak exited the previous match with an unknown injury, leaving his availability for Saturday’s contest against the Sabres up in the air.
Sabres experienced a catastrophe in Boston
The Buffalo Sabres (31-25-3-1, 33-27 ATS) were on a three-game winning streak but lost the last two games against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Boston Bruins. Even though the Sabres conceded seven goals in a game this season, the most recent 7-1 defeat to the Boston Bruins on the road was the largest this year. Buffalo now dropped to 9th position in the Eastern Conference with 66 points, 13 behind the Lightning.
Boston created a 4-0 lead when Buffalo scored its only goal of the game through Casey Mittelstadt in the third period. The Bruins deserved this win as they attempted 42 shots opposite Buffalo’s 27. When it comes to points this year, Tage Thompson is not only the best Sabre, but he is also among the top 5 players in the entire NHL with 80 points (G 41, A 39), followed by Alex Tuch with 62 (G 28, A 34) and Rasmus Dahlin with 62 points(G 14, A 48).
Craig Anderson (9-8-2) is likely to start at the goal against the Lightning on Saturday. The 41-year-old is surrendering 2.77 goals per contest this year with a .918 SV% and one shutout.
RW Alex Tuch has wound up on the injured reserve list with a lower-body issue, and there is no timetable for return. D Rasmus Dahlin has been placed on the injured reserve list with a lower-body injury, and he will remain idle until the middle of March.
6-2 in the last eight vs. a team with a winning record
38-14 in the last 52 games playing on one day of rest
1-4 in the last five home games
1-4 in the last five after scoring two goals or less in their previous game
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Buffalo Sabres Pick
The Sabres conceded 12 goals in the last two games, and although the Lightning comes to Buffalo with four wins in five games, I am backing Tampa Bay to show its maturity and win this game. While the Sabres have the higher-scoring offense that averages 3.72 goals per game opposite Tampa Bay’s 3.52 gpg, the Lightning have a stronger defense that allows 3.00 gpg opposite Buffalo’s 3.57 gpg. It’s going to be a tight encounter that could go either way, but I am backing the visitors to get an edge.
Pick: Take the Lightning to win (+139)
Both teams are struggling defensively of late; Buffalo allowed 4+ goals in each of the last three games, while that was the case in each of Tampa’s previous three games. Over is 7-1-1 in the last nine H2H meetings; Over is 3-0-1 in the previous four H2H duels in Buffalo, Over is 5-2 in the Lightning’s last seven overall, while Over is 5-1 in the Sabres’ previous six overall.
Pick: Go Over 6.5 goals (-110)