The Tampa Bay Lightning travel to Buffalo where they will look to start a new winning streak. The Lightning suffered their first loss in five games, against of all teams, the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. It was a weak performance Vasilevskiy in net, which accounted for his worst outing of the year. Other than that start, Vasilevskiy had been rolling right along between the pipes. The Senators were able to knock him down a few pegs, though.
He allowed 6 goals on 34 shots for a 0.824 save percentage. His backup Louis Domingue will get the start against the Sabres on Tuesday night at KeyBank Center. The Sabres are one of those teams who look like they’re on the verge of breaking out and becoming a playoff team. I don’t think they are quite there yet, though don’t be surprised if they are in the playoffs within the next couple of years.
The Sabres enter Tuesday night with two wins in a row, over the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks. They needed extra time to win both games, but it’s 4 points all the same. Buffalo moved to 9-6-2 with the two wins. They lost four of five games before catching a break in overtime the Canadiens and a shootout against the Canucks. If the Bolts take the Sabres lightly here, it’s likely to lead to another win for Buffalo. However, off a bad loss, we’ll see if the Lightning are sleeping again. Head below for the rest of our writeup and Lightning vs. Sabres pick.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Buffalo Sabres Pick
The top offence in the NHL got going again on Saturday, but the defensive effort was lacking for the Lightning. It was particularly a bad 3rd period, as they gave up 4 unanswered goals with a 4-2 lead going into the final frame. You usually don’t get good teams blowing leads like that, but it will happen here and there over the course of long season. For the offence, it was the fifth game in a row that they’ve scored at least 4 goals.
Dating back to October 30th, seven games ago, the Bolts have averaged 4.2 goals per game. There have been no shortage goals for a team who are 1st in the NHL, with an average of 3.65 goals per game. The Predators trail by 0.15 goals. In their last meeting with Buffalo this past April, the Lightning racked up 7 goals in a wild 7-5 win.
Carter Hutton has been getting by a firing squad in net against Tampa. He owns a brutal 0.80 save percentage and 3.79 GAA against the Lightning in three games. Hutton has been average as the starting netminder in Buffalo, with a 2.78 GAA and 0.912 save percentage. The Lightning should be able to do some damage to his numbers just a bit tonight.
Conversely, Louis Domingue has been adequate against the Sabres in his career. He’s posted a 2.71 GAA and 0.914 save percentage in three appearances. Overall, he has been off this season with a 3.77 GAA and 0.885 save percentage, but he hasn’t seen the crease too much in 2018-19. He should be able to fend off the Buffalo offence enough to allow the Lightning playmakers to go to work. I’d look at Tampa on the road for Tuesday night in the NHL.