Philadelphia Flyers at Buffalo Sabres

 

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The Philadelphia Flyers shutout the Buffalo Sabres in the first game of the mini-series with a resounding 3-0 victory. The Sabres have been struggling to find wins this entire season, with only 6 on the season in their first 17 games to give them the worst record in the East Division. The Flyers, on the other hand, have won 10 games this season thus far and have been in the midst of a competitive East Division race.

Flyers offense is leading the way

The Flyers had a humbling defeat at Lake Tahoe, losing 7-3 to the Boston Bruins in front of a national audience. The last two games have been a reminder of the Flyers’ ability to beat any team on any given night and also a reminder of their potent offense. Scoring 3.4 goals per game, the offense is led by a top line of Kevin Hayes, Joel Farabee, and James van Riemsdyk, who have combined for 24 goals this season.

While the offense is more than potent enough to win games, the defense needs to improve as they are allowing 3.2 goals per game. Ivan Provorov and Justin Braun have played well, combining for 48 blocked shots but the rest of the unit has struggled this season. Likewise, Carter Hart is one of the best young goalies in the NHL but has been fatigued in recent games and is allowing 3.6 goals per game. Fortunately, the Flyers have been receiving excellent play from their backup goaltender Brian Elliott who is allowing only 2.3 goals per game and have given the teams much-needed relief in the net.

Sabres have struggle offensively

The Sabres have been playing poorly this season in all facets of the game but the offense has struggled in particular. Taylor Hall was brought in to provide a strong scoring presence yet has only scored once this season while Jack Eichel was supposed to take a major leap this season but only has two goals so far. The Sabres are only scoring 2.4 goals per game and aside from Victor Olofsson and Sam Reinhart, who have 7 goals each, the Sabres haven’t found any scoring.

The defense has been doing its best to keep the Sabres in games, allowing 2.9 goals per game. The pairing of Rasmus Ristolainen and Jake McCabe has led the way totaling 2 defensive point shares and combining for 28 blocked shots While Colin Miller has 19 blocked shots to lead the Sabres. The Sabres have also gotten strong play in goal from starter Linus Ullmark who has started 12 games and only allowed 2.4 goals per game while Carter Hutton is allowing 3.2 goals per game as a backup.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

The Sabres are poised to pull off a road upset but it’s hard to buy into the hype when they have been a mess this season. The Flyers should be able to pile on the goals in this game with their top line looking unstoppable and the lineup showing the capability to find the back of the net regardless of who is on the ice. Likewise, Brian Elliott has been great in the recent games, including shutting out the Sabres in the recent 3-0 victory and the expectation is for him to get the nod once again and eliminate the Sabres offense. The Flyers should win this game and potentially by a few goals.

Prediction:
Flyers (-158)

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

The Flyers can run up the score in this game and this can become a high-scoring matchup but the defenses should control this game. The Sabres have been awful on the offensive side this season and the Flyers should be able to blank their offense once again, especially with the way Brian Elliott has been playing for the Flyers in goal. Likewise, the Flyers should find the back of the net a few times but the Sabres defense should be able to keep the game low-scoring with Jake McCabe leading the way. The Under should cover with both offenses struggling to find scoring and the defenses controlling the game.

Prediction:
Under 5.5