What happened to the Buffalo Sabres? In a showing of how quickly things can change in the NHL, the Sabres went from 100 to 0 right after going on a ten-game winning streak. If the Sabres went from 100 to 0, then the Ducks went from 100 to -100. It hasn’t been as ugly as the Ducks, but both went from winning a lot of games to searching for answers. The Ducks won nine of ten games, while the Sabres were on a ten-game winning streak before slipping.
The surprising part is that both teams are still alive with respects to the playoffs. The Ducks are 3 points behind for the final wildcard in the Western Conference and the same goes for the Sabres in the Eastern Conference. There are several obstacles in front of the Ducks, while the Sabres are currently the last team out, though. Everyone in the Western Conference is alive, and that includes the last place Kings who are only 6 points behind for the final playoff seed. How is that for parity? That’s the NHL for you.
So, back the original question, what happened to the Sabres? The most obvious sign of decline has been the play of Carter Hutton in net. From playing great to floundering. Backup Linus Ullmark has been called on to provide some assistance, but they’ve gotten varying results from him.
Ullmark was in net for a 5-4 win over the Wild, though the win wasn’t because he had a stellar game. It’s been turning into a frustrating season for Jack Eichel, who leads the team in points with 56 points. In what looked like his teams coming out party earlier in the season, they’re going to have to have to fight to reach the playoffs. The Hurricanes are tied with the Sabres at 58 points, so this may prove to be an important game. Head below for our free Hurricanes vs. Sabres pick.
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Buffalo Sabres Pick
Jeff Skinner will play his former employer for the second time since leaving Carolina for Buffalo. He played in Raleigh for eight seasons, the entire duration of his career before going to the Sabres. The acquisition has proven successful for the Sabres, as Skinner leads the team in scoring with 31 goals, already surpassing the 24 goals he scored as a Hurricane a season ago.
He’s only 6 goals away from matching his career-high. Skinner also reached the All-Star Game to add to his impressive resume in the 2018-19 season. Failure to go to the playoffs would most certainly put a damper on his individual success, though.
Ullmark came up gimpy after winning a shootout for the Sabres against the Wild. There has been zero word from the Sabres’ camp regarding his injury status, though. The Sabres likely will go with Hutton tonight if Ullmark is reporting any discomfort. Hutton has struggled mightily recently with at least 4 goals allowed in his last four outings.
His most recent effort was a 7-3 loss against the Blackhawks. It was the second game in three games that the Sabres allowed 7 goals with Hutton manning the pipes. He was in net against the Hurricanes on January 11th which resulted in a 4-3 win for Carolina. Note that the Sabres have allowed 4 goals per game in their previous ten outings.
The Hurricanes are coming off a confidence builder in Pittsburgh. They came out on top by a score of 4-0, as McElhinney blanked a good Penguins’ offence on the road. The Canes have averaged 3.9 goals per game in their last ten games, as their scoring chances have been turning into goals. They lead the NHL in shots per game and it’s been starting to translate into goals. The Sabres have gone 9-1 to the OVER in their last ten games, while the Hurricanes have gone 7-3. I was expecting a total of 6.5 here, so the OVER at 6 looks like an attractive play.