Buffalo Sabres at Pittsburgh Penguins

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

National Hockey League action on Thursday evening and we will see a pair of teams from the East Division square off as the Buffalo Sabres grapple with the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. The Penguins took game one of this set yesterday and they now lead the season series 3-0. The Sabres enter this game at 6-25 on the year while the Penguins come in at 20-13.

The Worst Keeps Getting Worse

The Buffalo Sabres are the worst team in the league, and they seem to be getting worse. After losing 5-2 to Pittsburgh in game one of this set, the Sabres have now lost their last 15 games in a row to fall to 6-25 on the year. Their 16 points on the year are eight points fewer than the Ducks and Red Wings, who have the 2nd fewest points in the league with 24. Buffalo has been outscored 63-25 during their losing streak, and they have lost 10 of their last 15 by three goals or more. The Sabres have not been just losing, but they have been getting crushed and making matters worse in that Jack Eichel along with Kyle Okposo are both on the shelf. Scoring in the loss to Pittsburgh was Rasmus Dahlin, which was his 2nd of the year, and Victor Olofsson, which was his 9th.

Absorbing the loss was Dustin Tokarski, who allowed five goals on 42 shot attempts to fall to 0-2 with a 4.24 GAA on the year. Getting the nod in this should be Carter Hutton, and he has gone 1-11 with a 3.47 GAA on the year, including 1-3 with a 2.71 GAA on the road. In his career, he has gone 45-71 with a 2.83 GAA on the road and 5-2 with a 1.83 GAA against the Penguins. We note that Hutton is questionable for this one. Linus Ullmark is on the shelf, but he could be ready for this one. Ullmark is 5-6 with a 2.44 GAA on the year, including 3-3 with a 2.46 GAA on the road. In his career, he is 21-28 with a 2.71 GAA on the road and 1-0 with a 2.80 GAA against the Pens.

Team Stats & Rankings: Buffalo enters this contest ranked 31st in scoring at 2.06 gpg, 29th in shots per game at 27.7, and 11th in power-play conversions at 24.1%. At the defensive end of the ice, they are ranked 30th in goals allowed at 3.52 gpg, 24th in shots per game allowed at 31.6, and 17th in penalty kill at 77.9%.

Pens Make It 3-0 Against The Sabres This Year

The Pittsburgh Penguins came into this two-game set against the Sabres having lost three of their four previous games, and they scored a total of seven goals over that stretch. One way for teams to get back on track this year is to face the lowly Buffalo Sabres, which was the case as Pittsburgh took game one of this set by a score of 5-2. Pittsburgh is now 3-0 against Buffalo this year, and they have outscored them 13-4 in the three games. Pittsburgh has been having a solid year overall, and they have been getting great play in the crease of late. The Pens have allowed just 1.60 gpg over their last ten games. Despite struggling on offense in the four-games prior to last night, the Penguins have still averaged a solid 3.46 gpg over their last 13 games.

Scoring in the win was Evan Rodrigues, which was his 3rd of the year, Kris Letang, which was his 6th, John Marino, which was his 2nd, Zach Aston-Reese, which was his 7th, andSidney Crosby, which was his 13th. Snatching up the win was Tristan Jarry, who stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced to improve to 13-10 with a 2.82 GAA on the year. Casey DeSmith will get the call in this one, and he has gone 7-3 with a 2.11 GAA on the year, including 3-1 with a 2.46 GAA here at home. He is 18-9 with a 2.47 GAA in his home games and 2-1 with a 1.66 GAA against the Sabres in his career.

Team Stats & Rankings: Pittsburgh enters this contest ranked 12th in scoring at 3.09 gpg, 13th in shots per game at 30.0, and 24th in power-play conversions at 17.9%. At the defensive end of the ice, they are ranked 12th in goals allowed at 2.73 gpg, 14th in shots per game allowed at 29.8, and 19th in penalty kill at 76.5%.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

When teams are playing on no rest, you have to look at depth. The Sabres have very little depth especially without having Kyle Okposo and Jack Eichel in the lineup. Pittsburgh has a ton of depth and a massive edge on the offensive end of the ice. The Sabres could very well get Linus Ullmark back for this one but even if he does play, I have to give Pittsburgh a big edge there as they have allowed just 1.60 gpg over their last 10 games. Pittsburgh has owned this series over the years and they are 3-0 against Buffalo this season, outscoring them 13-4 in the process. all three wins have been by three goals on this one will as well.

Prediction:
Pittsburgh -1.5

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

Pittsburgh struggled to score in their four games prior to this set, but the offense got back on track with a five-spot. Pittsburgh has now averaged 3.46 gpg over their last 13 games, and they have scored 13 goals in the three games against Buffalo this year. The Sabres have averaged 2.56 gpg on the road, and Pittsburgh has allowed 2.35 gpg at home. The Sabres scored two goals yesterday, and they should get two tonight as well, while Pittsburgh will be good for another five, at least. This game is being played on no rest for both teams, which could affect the defenses in this one as they will have tired legs. Lastly, the Over is 6-1 in Buffalo’s last seven road games and 7-1-1 in the last nine meetings between these teams here in Pittsburgh.

Prediction:
Over 6