The limping Vegas Golden Knights will look for better results in Buffalo on Tuesday night against the Sabres at KeyBank Center. Vegas embarks on an extra long eight-game road trip following a three-game losing streak, all of which came at home at T-Mobile Arena. They were home for seven games in a row, and made good on the home-ice advantage early, but after winning their first four games they’ve had some trouble.
The Penguins, Kings, and Blue Jackets all waltzed into Las Vegas and got out of town with 2 points in regulation. Pittsburgh are a good team, albeit they were playing without Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel, but the Kings and Blue Jackets are two very beatable teams. The Kings are scraping the bottom of the barrel, while the Blue Jackets have been playing with a lot of injuries.
The Pacific Division is the most wide open division in the NHL. The top seed has been their for the taking, but no has taken the opening and done anything with it. Vegas was in first for a while there, though unable to generate any separation. That’s allowed the rest of the group in the division to stick around and have a clear path to the top.
Despite the three-game losing streak, and a mediocre record of 24-18-6, the Golden Knights are a point behind the Coyotes and Flames for first in the division. Remember how badly the Flames had been playing? Now, they’re atop the Pacific simply as a result of everyone else tripping over themselves.
Mind you, the Flames have been playing a lot better hockey lately, but 25-17-5 isn’t going to get too far in other divisions. Going into Tuesday, there are five teams within 2 points of one another. From the Oilers at 53 points to the Coyotes and Flames at 55. The Sabres had a nice start, but the same story as last season, they went on a run and then regressed.
After a ten-game winning streak in 2018-19, the Sabres fell off the map. They’re not completely off the map currently, but should consider getting going at 20-19-7 and 47 points. The Sabres are 7 points back of a wildcard, so it’s not going to be easy. After success early in the year, it’s looking like it was just another mirage thrown over the eyes of Sabres’ fans. We’ll see if they can exploit a struggling Golden Knights team tonight. Head below for our free Golden Knights vs. Sabres pick.
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Buffalo Sabres Betting Odds:
Golden Knights vs. Sabres Prediction:
Marc-Andre Fleury looked well off the mark against the Pittsburgh Penguins, as he got touched up early for two goals in the first against a Penguins team without two of their best playmakers. Fleury allowed 4 goals on 16 shots for a dreadful 0.75 save percentage. This was after Fleury gave up 4 goals against the Blues and Flyers, so it was a tough stretch for the veteran. Instead of giving him the nod against the Kings to rebuild his confidence, Gerard Gallant went with Subban between the pipes in the next start. Subban proceeded to get torched against a shaky Kings’ offence. I thought that would have been a nice spot to get Fleury back out there versus an inferior team, though Gallant had other plans.
Fleury did start against the Blue Jackets in their most recent outing, and he was well off the mark again. The Blue Jackets got to him for 3 goals on just 22 shots. Dating back to his early days with the Penguins, Fleury was prone to being one of the hottest and coldest goaltenders in the league. You have to take the good with the bad, and hope he gets hot at the right time.
Usually the good outweighs the bad with him, but it’s been a rough stretch for him. Fleury enters Buffalo with a pedestrian 2.84 GAA and 0.907 save percentage. He’s posted a 0.845 save percentage in his previous four outings. As a team, the Golden Knights have yielded 3.5 goals per game in their last ten games, so there are others who must step up as well.
The Sabres have a hot and cold team, there’s no denying that. And that goes for both ends of the ice, their offence looks like an elite threat at times, and useless in other moments. Everything came together for them against the Red Wings in a 5-1 victory, but the Red Wings have a knack for making teams look good.
Prior to that showing, the Canucks smacked them for a 6-3 win, and the Blues 5-1 the game before that. The Canucks have been on about the same level as the Knights this season, so the Sabres are going to need a much better effort. Their defence has been incredibly sloppy recently, with 3.3 goals against in their last ten outings.
Vegas are likely going to be playing a bit desperately on Tuesday night. They’ve been all out of sorts recently, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Golden Knights coming out attacking the Sabres’ defensive zone hard. Note that the Sabres have surrendered 3.5 goals per game at home. The offence has typically shown up to put on an entertaining show, though, with 3.4 goal scored per game at KeyBank Center. With Fleury out of a groove, the Sabres should be able to look good offensively at home. Consider the OVER here at a value price.