The Colorado Avalanche and Buffalo Sabres clash on a chilly Sunday afternoon in Buffalo at the First Niagara Center. The Sabres are in the midst of trying to keep their season together after dropping four straight games in a row. They were able to break out of that funk, beating the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night by a score of 6-4. The Sabres are 3-7 in their last ten outings on the ice. The Avalanche are recent losers of four straight games as well, but have come out victorious in their last two affairs against the Senators and Red Wings. It’s going to be a tough fight for the Avs to reach the playoffs. They are currently 29-25-4 and on the cusp of the postseason, but they can’t afford to have too many more 0-4 streaks. The Avalanche are 5-5 in their last ten games, it’s a nice time for them to go on a big run. Defeating the rival Red Wings can hopefully be a nice motivational and confidence boost to get them to the next level.
Everything was going so well for the Avalanche in Patrick Roy’s rookie campaign as head coach. The Avs finished 55-22-8, kick starting what looked like would be a happy marriage between the Avalanche and Patrick Roy. While Roy isn’t on the hot seat, the Avalanche have regressed since their big season. The Avs lost in game 7 against the Wild, and then failed to make the playoffs last year. I think the idea was supposed to be that the Avs were going to build of the 55-22-8 season into the next, but it didn’t work out so well on that front. They lost Paul Statsny to the Blues, and then Ryan O’Reilly came here to Buffalo to play with the Sabres. They Avalanche didn’t have too much faith in O’Reilly and didn’t want to give him a big contract. Well, O’Reilly has responded with the Sabres and put together an All-Star campaign. Losing Stastny was a blow and O’Reilly was the kicker. The Sabres, on the other hand, are stockpiling young talent and looking towards the future. This has just been a season to get some players feet wet, and all in all, you can’t say it has been a failure. Let’s get to the rest of the write-up and pick below.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Buffalo Sabres NHL Pick
The Sabres are compiling some nice talent on offense. Last season there was nothing to get excited over on the Sabres. The offense and defense were both equally horrid. But the acquisition of O’Reilly and drafting Jake Eichel improved the offense immediately. However, there is still certainly room for improvement on both sides of the puck. O’Reilly and Eichel are going to be the foundation and focal point of the offense, now they need to find some pieces to plug in around them. The defense needs some attention too, as they are 23rd in the NHL, allowing 2.77 goals per game.
The Sabres have given up 16 goals in their last three games. That equates to an average of 5.3 goals allowed per game. In their last ten games, they’ve surrendered 3.50 goals per game. The shots have been hammering them on net, as they have been hit for 35 shots per game against during that stretch. The Avs knows how it feels to get peppered with all of those shots, they’ve allowed 36.6 shots per game in their past ten games. In other words, between the Avalanche and Sabres, they have given up 71.6 shots per game together. Likewise, they have given up 6.4 goals in total. The Avalanche and Sabres typically score the puck when they meet up. The OVER has gone 7-1 in their last eight tilts. I like the OVER at 5 goals.
PICK: OVER 5 GOALS (-125)