The NHL is set up with an action packed day of hockey throughout Saturday. Twelve games will be up on the board throughout March 13. One of these games will be between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres. These two teams have had very different starts this season, but both teams will look for the win. This game will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time on NHL Network.
The Penguins have earned a record of 16-9-1 to this point in the season, which has them sitting in third place of the East Division. Pittsburgh has won four games in a row entering this one. The Penguins will look to keep this up as they meet up with the Sabres. I expect Pittsburgh to try and carry momentum over early in this one as they look to keep the winning streak alive.
Buffalo has put up a record of 6-15-4 throughout this season, which has them in last place of the East Division. The Sabres have lost nine games in a row entering this one and thirteen of their last fifteen. Buffalo has not found any rhythm throughout this season and will need to finally get something going sooner rather than later.
These two teams are on opposite sides of the standings entering this matchup. I think that the Sabres will come out strong in this one as they try to finally get back in the win column. If Buffalo can finally put together a complete performance, I think they can knock off Pittsburgh. The Penguins will look to keep up their winning streak though with a strong start.
The Penguins and the Sabres met up three times last season. The first game was in Pittsburgh on October 3. Evgeni Malkin scored for the Penguins, but it was not enough. Conor Sheary scored two goals, while Casey Mittelstadt had two assists. Carter Hutton finished with 28 saves on 29 shots to help give Buffalo a 3-1 win on the road.
Pittsburgh also hosted the second game of the season series on February 22. Evgeni Malkin scored twice on the night, but it still was not enough for the Penguins. Jack Eichel had two goals on the night, while Sam Reinhart had two assists in this one. Carter Hutton stopped 41 of the 43 shots against him as the Sabres were able to earn a 5-2 win on the night.
The third game of the season series shifted to Buffalo on March 5. Jake McCabe and Marcus Johansson both scored for the Sabres, but this time Buffalo came up short. Patric Hornqvist scored two goals on the night, while Evgeni Malkin had two assists. Matt Murray was able to stop 28 of the 30 shots he faced as the Penguins earned a 4-2 win in this one.
The first game of this season’s series was in Buffalo on March 11. Tage Thompson and Victor Olofsson each scored for the Sabres, but it was not enough. Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist, while ten players all had a point for Pittsburgh on the night. Tristan Jarry finished with 21 saves on 23 shots as the Penguins earned a 5-2 win.
Pittsburgh has struggled on both sides of special teams throughout this season. The Penguins have scored on 13 of their 74 power play chances, which is a 17.6 percent power play. Pittsburgh’s penalty kill has killed off 58 of the 78 penalties against them, which is a 74.4 percent kill rate. The Penguins will need to step up on special teams in this one.
The Sabres have been dangerous on the power play to this point in the season. Buffalo has capitalized on 19 of their 68 power play opportunities, which is a 27.9 percent success rate. The Sabres have also been around the league average on the penalty kill. Buffalo has given up 11 goals on their opponents 57 power play attempts, which is an 80.7 percent penalty kill.
Buffalo has the edge on special teams throughout this season. The Sabres have the better power play and penalty kill entering this one. If Buffalo can keep up their special teams success in this one, it could help them finally earn a win in this one. The Sabres will also need clean up their five on five play if they want to knock off the Penguins.
Tristan Jarry will likely get the start in the crease for the Penguins on Saturday night. Jarry has started in 19 games so far this season, going 11-7-1 through these games. He has put up a .901 save percentage and a GAA of 3.00. Jarry’s last start was against the Sabres on Thursday night. He stopped 21 of 23 shots to help lead Pittsburgh to a win.
I expect Carter Hutton to get the nod in the net for Buffalo in this one. Hutton has earned a record of 1-7-1 throughout his 9 games played this season. He has posted a save percentage of .883 and a 3.40 GAA in his games. Hutton finished with 24 saves on 29 shots in his last start against the New York Islanders, which was not enough for the win.
Jarry gives Pittsburgh the edge in the crease entering this game. Hutton has struggled throughout this season, but he has had some time off since his last game. Hutton’s last start was on March 6. Buffalo will need Hutton to step up between the pipes on Saturday night. If Hutton can put up a better performance in this one, it could help lead the Sabres to a win.
Buffalo has been doing really poorly as of late, losing nine games in a row. On the other side, the Penguins have picked up their play as of late. I think that the Sabres have a chance to finally break through in this one. If Buffalo can use their special teams to their advantage, I think they can get the win. I expect the Sabres to try and put together a more complete game in this one.
BetOnline has Pittsburgh listed as a -201 against the spread on Saturday night. This implies that the Penguins will win this game around 66.8 percent of the time. I think that Pittsburgh is the better team in this one, but this line seems a bit too big. I think that the Sabres will be able to grab a win in this one and as huge home underdogs, I really like the value on Buffalo.