The Buffalo Sabres continued their up and down season with a loss against the Carolina Hurricanes last night. They had terrible puck luck in that contest, with the Hurricanes getting the fortunate bounces to beat Carter Hutton for 4 goals. It might be easy to blame Hutton for the loss, but he couldn’t catch any breaks. The good teams know how to overcome the bad bounces, though, and still figure out a way to win games.
It’s impossible to avoid losses like that occasionally, though if it becomes a trend, it’s likely a sign of something deeper. The Sabres are clinging on to the final seed in the Eastern Conference. However, it’s a little meaningless at this point in the season. The only thing keeping them afloat has been their ten-game winning streak.
That may have given fans in Buffalo some false hope. Several of those wins were by 1 goal, so some of them could have gone either way. There’s a couple of ways to dissect that, because there are good teams who just know how to win close games. However, there’s the other side of the coin, where there are select teams who caught some breaks in close games.
In the short-term picture, luck and bounces come into play. In the big picture, though, the better teams eventually get better results. The moral of the story is that the Sabres have some thick woods to get through in the second-half. On the heels of their loss to the Hurricanes, they have to turn around the next night and play the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning have been steamrolling the opposition, and even on bad night like against the Hurricanes, they still found a way to win by 2 goals. We’ll see what the Sabres have in the tank for them tonight. Head below for our free Lightning vs. Sabres pick.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Buffalo Sabres Pick
Linus Ullmark in all likelihood will see the crease this evening against the Lightning. At least they don’t have to stay in the south and play the Lightning in Tampa. They have that going for them if they want to find a positive going into this one. The Sabres didn’t find much luck last night, but Ullmark might need some luck against the high-powered Lightning on Saturday. Tampa played uncharacteristically against the Hurricanes.
It took them until the 3rd period with just over 8 minutes remaining in the game to find a good goal. It’s difficult to suggest that the Lightning offence is going to held in check in back-to-back games. They’ve averaged 4.09 goals per game on the season with 4.4 per game in their last ten games. So, the lapse offensively against the Hurricanes was not typical. The Sabres shouldn’t expect to see that tonight. Tampa is going to get a Sabres’ defence that is likely going to feel a bit gassed after playing last night.
With that said, Eichel and Skinner have to get the offence moving in this game. It’s probably going to have to be better than last night even though they weren’t bad. Buffalo kept responding last night, but eventually had no answer when the Hurricanes went up 4-2.
They can’t allow the Lightning to build a comfortable lead early in this one or it’s going to be lights out. Buffalo have averaged just over 3 goals per game this season at home, so they might be okay keeping pace, but getting the win is going to be a tough chore. In any event, expect more than 6 goals to put this matchup OVER the total.