The Buffalo Sabres hit a major milestone against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. They won their 10th straight game, which put them atop the NHL in the standings. It’s been a wild ride for the Sabres, who have played in some highly entertaining games recently. Jeff Skinner put the Sharks to sleep with an overtime winner after his team blew a late 2-1 lead. The refs gave the Sharks a gift to go on the power play, so there were some nervous moments for Sabres’ fans for a few minutes.
Skinner, who has been on a massive tear in Buffalo, made sure the home crowd went home happy. With the Lightning losing to the Ducks, the Sabres jumped out to a league best record of 17-6-2. Tampa can get it back with a win over the Sabres tonight. It’s going to be a highly competitive Eastern Conference with the Sabres playing like this.
If they can keep it up, it’s going to be interesting come spring time. That was the question with the Vegas Golden Knights when they got off to their historic run. The wall that people were waiting for never came, and the Golden Knights brought that run all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
I would argue that there is more talent in the Eastern Conference this season, though, than what Vegas had to traverse through a season ago. The Lightning and Maple Leafs to name a couple, along with the defending Stanley Cup Champions are going to be in the mix. Enjoy the moment Sabres’ fans, but we’ll see how far it gets them later in the season. Head below for our free Sabres vs. Lightning pick for Thursday in the NHL.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Pick
Jeff Skinner has stolen the show in Buffalo, as he continues to roll on with 19 goals on the season. He is tied with Patrik Laine who has 19 goals as well. He held the league lead for a minute. That was before Laine put up 5 goals in one game and he took the lead goal right back. It hasn’t been easy ten wins in a row for the Sabres. They’ve had to do it the hard way, with close wins littering their winning streak.
Note that nine of their ten games have been one goal games. Seven of the ten needed extra time to get decided. There are a couple of ways of decoding that. First, the Sabres got lucky and it’s eventually going to catch up to them as variance does when it comes to luck. Second, they’re just a clutch team who comes through under pressure. I think we need more of a sample size. We’ll see how good they are with one of their stiffest challenges yet in Tampa.
The Lightning will be coming into Thursday off a bad loss against the Ducks. Expect one of the top offence in the NHL to come out flying with a determined look to end this streak for Buffalo. The Bolts have averaged 3.68 goals per game for 2nd in the NHL. They’ve been getting by with Louis Domingue in net, but the offence has been carrying the load without Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy will steal some games, but without him, the margin for error is smaller offensively. Domingue enters with a 3.19 GAA and 0.903 save percentage. They have scored 3.8 goals per game in their last ten, but 3.1 goals against is too much.
Domingue is going to have to contend with a Buffalo offence who are feeling plenty confident. They have scored 3.3 goals per game during this ten-game run and have found a potent 1-2 punch with Skinner and Eichel. Domingue doesn’t exactly evoke much confidence. There will most likely be some offence in this contest, so a look at the OVER is appealing.