After winning ten straight games, the Buffalo Sabres started a new streak in the opposite direction. They are hoping to snap a four-game losing streak tonight, with their most recent loss a hard one to take against the Maple Leafs in overtime. They did have a couple of overtime games during those four games, so they were still able to pick up a couple of points. I noted all of the overtime and 1-goal wins they had during their ten-game winning streak.
Eventually that can catch up with variance taking an ugly turn for the worst. All their four losses during this recent skid have been by 1-goal, so they’ve suddenly found themselves on the other side of tough losses. That’s to be expected, though. Buffalo still have a nice record of 17-8-4, a year after finishing last in the NHL. The Sabres won just 25 games a season ago, so fans just have to keep things in perspective.
It was unrealistic to believe that the Sabres were going to continue winning games at that rate, especially with all of their close calls. They are unlikely going to be able to keep up with the other top teams in the Eastern Conference, though I’d be surprised if we don’t find them in the playoffs.
There isn’t much that the Sabres could have done about that Auston Matthews snipe with seconds remaining in OT. Linus Ullmark just got beat by an elite shooter, with the puck places perfectly over his shoulder and bar down. The Flyers go into Buffalo following an overtime loss against the Blue Jackets. They erased a late 3-1 hole, but ultimately fell in overtime. Anthony Stolarz gave up a couple of cheap goals in that one, as their goaltending issues reared its ugly head again. Not much they can do with the injuries to Elliott and Neuvirth, though. Get our free Flyers vs. Sabres pick below for Saturday afternoon in the NHL.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Buffalo Sabres Pick
The most recent report out of Brian Elliot’s camp is that he has been proceeding nicely. Two weeks ago they said he’d be back in two weeks, though, and he isn’t ready to get back in the crease. The starting job has been primarily assumed by Stolarz who didn’t have his best outing against the Blue Jackets. The first goal was particularly troublesome, as Stolarz couldn’t find the puck when it was sitting in the back of his net without him realizing it.
He enters Saturday with a 3.19 GAA and 0.901 save percentage. If Elliott comes back to struggle, Stolarz may still be an option for the Flyers. Philadelphia ranks 29th with 3.54 goals allowed per game. They’ve been better in their last ten games, with 3.2 allowed, but their offence decided to take a step back, scoring 2.6 goals per game during that stretch.
Meanwhile, the Sabres have been a force at home. They enter Saturday’s matchup with a record of 9-2-2 in Buffalo. The Sabres have averaged an impressive 3.15 goals per game, while allowing 2.62 per game. Just a few years ago 2.62 goals would be average to below average, but it’s respectable in the NHL this season.
As a favourite this season, they’ve scored 3.75 goals per game and allowed 2.38 per game, so the oddsmakers have been normally correct. Note also that the Sabres have gone 4-1 over the Flyers in their last five meetings in Buffalo. The Sabres should be able to find the win column this afternoon for the first time since November 27th.