Two East division foes will face-off in early matinee action Saturday afternoon as the New Jersey Devils host the Buffalo Sabres.
Buffalo enters this match-up feeling pretty good about their start to the season. It’s an important one for the franchise, and after a big off-season splash to bring in Taylor Hall up front – Buffalo knows they need results in a competitive division. Though they are 3-3-2, their underlying metrics have been pretty impressive thus far, and have shown substantial improvement compared to how they finished last season.
For New Jersey, they too are playing well but struggling to secure results lately. They enter Saturday’s contest coming off of two hard-fought losses to the Flyers, but they did play well and likely should have deserved better fates. The Devils are also badly depleted, missing Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier, Sami Vatanen, and top goalie Mackenzie Blackwood remains sidelined in goal.
We are quickly finding out that these intra-division clashes are bringing higher levels of intensity and in a condensed season, points are very much already at a premium. With both of these clubs pining for post-season appearances, a clear victory would go a long way come the spring. And despite the early afternoon start, it should bring with it some excitement. For added team news, analysis, and our betting prediction, continue to read on beneath the current odds for our take on the Devils vs. Sabres on Saturday afternoon.
Buffalo Sabres vs. New Jersey Devils Betting Odds:
New Jersey Devils (+135)
Buffalo Sabres (-155)
Over 5.5 (-120)
Under 5.5 (+100)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Buffalo Sabres vs. New Jersey Devils Pick:
Full credit to Ralph Krueger and the Buffalo Sabres who seem to have implemented an effective playing style with a very short training camp. Though the results aren’t quite there yet, the Sabres have been a long-suffering franchise in this league. Since Krueger’s arrival as coach, he’s brought a sense of organization and discipline, and their current low-event style is working for Buffalo.
Buffalo succeeds with a team defense approach, insulating their inferior netminders in Linus Ullmark and Carter Hutton. Up front, they’re fortunate to boast some elite, game-breaking talent in Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall, a dynamic duo that can create offense from nothing. For their Saturday opponents, that’s something New Jersey still seems to be lacking, despite recent first overall picks.
New Jersey started this season well, but following the loss of Mackenzie Blackwood in goal, some warts have started to show. Blackwood made this inferior group look a lot better than they were during key stretches, and without him in goal vs. Philadelphia, the Devils began to get exposed.
Beyond Jack Hughes, the Devils are really struggling to generate consistent offense and goal-scoring opportunities. That’s problematic when going against Buffalo, as both Taylor Hall and Jack Eichel’s lines should be able to control play and drive possession against New Jersey’s top line.
Don’t expect this elite 5v5 save percentage performance to continue from New Jersey much longer, especially against a sneaky good side like the Sabres, with some prolific scorers. The Sabres are rightful favourites Saturday afternoon, and though the price is a tad lofty at the moment, they’re still showing value against an undermanned Devils squad.