The Boston Bruins head to Buffalo with the intentions of snapping a two-game skid at KeyBank Center. The Bruins have been a polarizing team this season. They’ve looked like a pretty good team at times, but have been better at giving it all back with sloppy play. Their previous two losses weren’t “good” losses either. They never looked good in a 5-3 loss to the Hurricanes and 5-2 to the Devils.
The loss to the Devils at home was the more frustrating game for the Bruins, as they’ve typically played solid hockey in Boston this season. It was especially discouraging to come back from the Christmas break and putting a performance like that together. With the loss, the Bruins dropped to 20-14-4 on the season. If the playoffs started today, they’d be in possession of the final wildcard. The Islanders are currently 2 points behind them in the Eastern Conference.
It’d be a massive failure if the Bruins can’t fend off the teams who are in their rear-view mirror. The Red Wings, Panthers, Rangers, and Islanders are the first four teams out. None of them have looked like a playoff team this season. The Sabres are coming off a loss as well after the break.
Buffalo had a lifeless performance in St. Louis, as they had to settle for a 4-1 loss to the Blues. Since winning ten games in a row, the Sabres have looked rather average. Variance is expected after a team like the Sabres goes on a run like that, but we’re still kind of questioning where they are as a team. They’re 3rd in the Atlantic with a mark of 21-12-5, but how much of that is a mirage as a result of the ten-game winning streak? We’ll learn more about the Sabres in the second-half of the season. Get our free Bruins vs. Sabres pick below.
Boston Bruins vs. Buffalo Sabres Pick
The verdict is still out on the Sabres, but one thing is for certain, this team is much different than a season ago. That statement is an understatement. The Sabres finished with a record of 25-45-12 last season for dead last in the entire league. With that said, the strides they’ve made from one season to the other have been night and day. They are just four wins from matching their won total from last season.
The acquisition of Jeff Skinner can be accredited with the turnaround. Jack Eichel needed some help on this roster, and management got him Skinner. Eichel leads the team with 49 points, while Skinner is in 2nd with 38 points. He leads the team in goal scoring by a wide margin with 26 on the year. Skinner led the league in scoring at one point earlier. Ovechkin is currently 1st in scoring with 29 goals.
Boston have struggled on the road this season, with a lacklustre record of 7-9-4. It’s mainly been a result of zero output from their goal scorers. The offence just seems to shut down and go into hibernation outside of TD Garden. Note that they are scoring just 2.1 goals per game on the road.
Overall, they have notched 2.79 goals per game, while allowing 2.66 per game. Conversely, the Sabres have scored over 3 goals per game at home. They have a solid record of 12-4-2 at KeyBank Center. The Sabres are losers in three of their last four games, but I think behind home on a Saturday night against an Original Six foe will have them focused to respond with a win. Buffalo have gone 3-1 over the Bruins in their previous four meetings, the most recent a 4-2 win for the Sabres on December 16th in Boston. Given the attractive price, I would ride with the Sabres on the final Saturday of 2018 in the NHL.