Buffalo Sabres at New York Rangers

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The Buffalo Sabres have lost 13th straight games and the only reason Buffalo did not lose a 14th straight game against the Boston Bruins on Saturday, was because the game was postponed. The Sabres are 6-19-4 with 16 points and in the basement of the East division. Buffalo is eight points behind the New Jersey Devils, its closest competitor, and 28 points behind first place co-leaders Washington and the New York Islanders. Buffalo has not won since a 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on February 23rd.

New York defeated the Washington Capitals 3-1 on Saturday in their most recent outing. Mika Zibanejad scored with only 2:32 remaining to play to put the Rangers ahead to stay. Keith Kinkaid stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced in goal for New York. The Rangers are sixth in the East at 13-13-4 with 30 points. New York is three points behind 5th place Philadelphia and 14 points behind both the Islanders and Capitals.

Buffalo scoring has all but disappeared

Buffalo has major problems in the attack zone as the Sabres are scoring an average of only 2.03 goals-per-game and if the power play unit was not as good as it is, scoring 25.7% of the time with the man advantage, then Buffalo would be scoring even fewer goals per game. Sam Reinhart has 11 goals to lead Buffalo and the next closest goal scorer is Victor Olofsson with eight. The assist leader is Jack Eichel, who is out injured, and the active assists leader is Taylor Hall with 14. The overall points leaders are Reinhart and Olofsson with 19 each. Buffalo has scored 19 power-play goals this season.

The Buffalo blue line and goaltenders are not carrying their load either as the Sabres are allowing an average of 3.41 goals per game and the penalty kill unit is average at best holding opponents scoreless 78.3% of the time while shorthanded. Carter Hutton is 1-10-1 with a goals-against average of 3.48 and .885 save percentage. Over the last five games played Hutton has a .871 save percentage and has given up 19 goals.

Injury Report: Dylan Cozen is questionable for Monday, while Linus Ullmark is out until mid-April, Jack Eichel is out until late April and Jake McCabe is out for the season.

Goaltenders Keep Rangers in Games

The New York Rangers are sixth in the East division of the NHL but would be far worse if not for solid goaltending and play at the Blue Line. The Rangers are allowing an average of 2.60 goals per game and the penalty kill unit has come up big this season as New York is killing off 86.6% of the opponents power plays. Keith Kinkaid has come up big between the pipes of late and on the season is 2-1-1 with a 2.07 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. Kinkaid has won two of his last three and lost in overtime in the other game.

In the attack zone, New York is scoring an average of 2.93 goals per game but has been hurt by a poor performance on the power play, as the Rangers are scoring only 14.7% of the time with the man advantage, which has resulted in only 16 power-play goals this season. The leading goal scorer for New York is Chris Kreider with 14 while the leaders in assists are Artemi Panarin and Pavel Buchnevich with 17 each and Buchnevich is the leader in points with 28 while Panarin is second with 25.

Injury Report: Igor Shesterkin is out until early April, while Philip Di Guiseppe is out indefinitely and Jack Johnson is out for the season.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

New York’s Keith Kinkaid has played very well of late in goal and through four games this season with the Rangers Kinkaid has a goals-against average of only 2.07. Buffalo has major problems at both ends of the ice as the Sabres are scoring an average of only 2.03 goals per game and are allowing nearly 1.50 goals-per-game more at 3.41 goals per game. The Sabres have played poorly on the road losing 58 of the last 76 away from their home ice and Buffalo overall has lost 21 of its last 26. The Rangers have improved in the attack zone scoring an average of 2.93 goals per game and the blue line is getting stingier each time out as the Rangers are allowing only an average of 2.60 goals per game.

Prediction:
New York Rangers -1.5

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

Both the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers do not score that many goals as Buffalo averages only 2.03 goals per game and New York 2.93 goals-per-game. When the two meet, the total has finished under in each of the last four and in three of the last five played on New York’s home ice. The total has also finished under in three of Buffalo’s last four overall and in 22 of the Rangers last 34.

Prediction:
UNDER 5.5