The Buffalo Sabres outlasted the Montreal Canadiens on Friday, as they sent a loss to the Habs in overtime, 3-2. The Sabres have been a pesky bunch that teams have quickly figured out that they aren’t the same old Sabres. They don’t look like they are going to go away quietly in the 2018-19 campaign. The vision of the Sabres when the organization drafted Jack Eichel in 2015 is beginning to come to fruition in Buffalo. Their uniform is one of my favourites in the NHL, so they have that going for them as well.
The Sabres enter with a record of 15-6-2 following the Jeff Skinner strike in overtime. They are currently in the midst of a long winning streak with 8 straight wins and a record of 9-1 in their previous ten outings. We’ll see what their record looks like in a couple of months and if we can take them seriously as a playoff contender, but their current play certainly suggests that the Sabres are destined for spring hockey.
Max Domi was a terrific pick up by the Canadiens, but another acquisition that must be noted is the signing of Skinner by the Sabres. The former Hurricane has already recorded 17 goals and 8 assists in 2018-19. Don’t ignore his fantastic +/- of 17 either. Note that Skinner scored 24 goals last season, and he is on pace to smash his career-high of 37 goals in 2016-17.
Carolina got some good years out of him, but his game is beginning to blossom in Buffalo. While the Sabres were enjoying a win yesterday, the Red Wings fell flat in Washington. They were knotted at 1 going into the 3rd, but exited the 3rd with a 3-1 loss. The Wings were pressuring late, but Braden Holtby turned in another effective game. They are back home on Saturday to welcome the Sabres. Head below for our free Sabres vs. Red Wings pick.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Detroit Red Wings Pick
Jonathan Bernier got the start for the Red Wings against the Capitals. He played well, especially against an offence as powerful as them. He couldn’t slow down Alexander Ovechkin, who was able to get on the score sheet on Friday. Credit the Wings for not giving up, though. They had the puck in the Capitals’ zone for the final 3 or 4 minutes of the contest.
The Capitals just kept going for the empty net and drawing icing calls, bringing the puck back and setting the Wings up. Andreas Anthansiou was sharp against for the Wings, as he was responsible for their only goal. He just beat Rask to give the Wings an overtime win in their prior game and is up to 10 goals on the season.
Linus Ullmark is likely to get the start for the Sabres in Detroit. He has played well as a backup in Buffalo, as he’s made six appearances with a 2.65 GAA and 0.922 save percentage. He made 5 starts in the NHL last season and recorded a 2.00 GAA. The Sabres have been above average on both ends of the ice. A good balance is necessary to do anything in the playoffs. There are far too many teams who might be great offensively, but give it all back in their own zone.
During their eight-game winning streak, they’ve been on a tear with 3.75 goals per game and 2.5 goals allowed per game. The Sabres allowed 2 or less goals in five of those eight games. With goal scoring up this season overall, a quality defence will carry the Sabres this season if they can keep playing well defensively. I’d take a look at the blazing hot Sabres in Detroit on Saturday evening.