The Buffalo Sabres return home to KeyBank Center on Monday looking to end a six-game losing streak. It isn’t like they didn’t try in Philadelphia, but they ran into a hot goalie on Saturday night at Wells Fargo. The Sabres sent 39 shots towards Carter Hart and he stood tall with 38 saves. Dominik Kahun was the only Sabre to find the back of the net, as he knotted the game up at 1-1 in the second period.
However, the Flyers came through in the final period for 2 goals, while Hart stood on his head to preserve the lead. I wouldn’t say that the Sabres were too bad in that game. They were playing like a team desperate to avoid a six-game losing streak, but weren’t on the right side in Philadelphia. It might be time to stick a fork in the Sabres. They’ve slipped all the way back to 13 points behind the Hurricanes for the final wildcard in the Eastern Conference.
Trading for Wayne Simmonds didn’t make any sense at the deadline, and it’s even more confusing now as the Sabres continue to lose games. The Sabres were not in a position to add a luxury to their roster, but did it anyway and getting nothing in return for his services. In fact, the Sabres haven’t won a game since February 23, a day before Simmonds was acquired at the deadline. In other words, the Sabres are a perfect 0-6 with Simmonds on the team. I said it was a bad move then and obviously stand by that now.
Trading for the former Flyer is going to be another negative in Jason Botterill’s portfolio. The Sabres’ GM is likely going to be on the hotseat in the offseason. If he stays, there will be more than a few upset Sabres’ fans. It’s becoming too predictable for the Sabres, and I don’t think anyone is going to be fooled by a brief stretch of success next season. They did it this season early in the year, and last season they went on a ten-game winning streak. Nothing came of it, though, and they’re not going to the playoffs yet again.
The Capitals have to look out for a desperate Sabres team tonight, though. They’re coming home following a tough game on Saturday, and will likely get up to play the Capitals on Monday night. If they’ve given up on the season, then the Capitals would be able to sleepwalk in this one and still win.
Take Jack Eichel out of the lineup, and the Sabres would fold pretty fast. The Capitals have won just two of their last five games, but are coming off a big win against the Penguins with a 5-2 win in Pittsburgh. That could be a game that gets them going. A letdown in Buffalo would squash that rather quickly, though. Head below for our free Capitals vs. Sabres pick.
Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres Betting Odds:
Capitals vs. Sabres Prediction:
The Capitals and Flyers go into the new week tied at 41-20-7 with 89 points in the Metropolitan Division. Philadelphia has been red-hot, as they are on a nine-game winning streak. Meanwhile, the Capitals have cooled off following a solid run in the first-half of the season. Perhaps we’ll see a role reversal, and then Capitals get hot again while the Flyers fade.
The Capitals did what they had to do to get their mojo back against the Penguins on Saturday. Nic Dowd was the big winner of the day, as he scored 2 goals to lead the Capitals. Despite cooling off, their offence has still been playing well. However, somebody between the pipes will have to start to warm up soon.
Braden Holtby turned in a solid performance against the Penguins, as he made 26 of 28 saves for a 0.928 save percentage. Todd Reirden is just going to go with whoever is hotter. After his performance on Saturday, it’s likely that Holtby gets the call again between the pipes. It’s been a shaky campaign for the veteran, though. He has a 3.14 GAA and 0.897 save percentage in 47 games.
His performance against the Sabres was the first time that he allowed fewer than 3 goals since February 15 against the Coyotes, eight games ago. As a team the Capitals have allowed 3.5 goals per game in their previous ten games. The offence scored 3.1 goals per game, which resulted in just four games in ten games. In their last meeting against the Sabres, the Capitals blew them out by a score of 6-1 at Capital One Arena.
Offence has travelled for the Capitals this season, so I think they should be fine at KeyBank Center on Monday. The Caps have notched 3.49 goals per game on the road and 3.44 goals overall for 2nd in the league. The Lightning are the only team in the NHL that have averaged more goals a game than the Capitals. Buffalo has netted just 2.81 goals per contest, but they see an upgrade in production at home, with 3.12 goals scored per game. There should be enough offence between the Capitals and Sabres to get this one OVER the total on Monday at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.