Canucks vs. Sabres Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Demko and Vancouver (October 19)
Codie McLachlan/Getty Images. Pictured: Thatcher Demko
Canucks vs. Sabres Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
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The Vancouver Canucks are currently in the heart of a six-game road trip to begin the season, and their next stop is in Buffalo to face the Sabres.
Before the season began, many wrote off Buffalo as one of the worst, if not the worst, teams in the NHL. However, they come into this matchup with a record of 2-0 and are looking to keep their unbeaten streak going.
Vancouver comes into the matchup with a record of 1-1-1 and recently suffered a loss at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings. However, they get a great matchup tonight and should get their second win of the season against this Sabres team.
As previously mentioned, the Sabres come into this game with a record of 2-0 and have been quite the surprise in the young season. The Sabres are ranked at the top of the league in several categories in 5-on-5 situations, which adds another element to their surprising start.
Through two games, Buffalo has an xGA/60 of 0.95 in 5-on-5 situations which ranks them number one in the NHL. They also rank second in high-danger chances against per 60 minutes, so from a statistical perspective their defense has been quite good.
Their goaltending has been great as well. Craig Anderson will get the start in this one, and in his first start of the season he stopped 30 of the 31 shots that he faced.
Their offensive attack hasn’t been as good as they have an xGF/60 of 1.94 and an HDCF/60 of 11.28, both of which rank outside the top 15, but so far they have gotten the job done.
While the overall stats look good on paper, it is worth taking a deeper dive into how Buffalo has gotten to this point. When you do, it becomes more clear why I haven’t bought into their early season success.
Their first game of the season was a 5-1 victory against the Montreal Canadiens. However, that game was the back end of a back-to-back for Montreal, and they were down to their third string goalie due to Carey Price being out. Price recently entered the NHL player assistance program which was the reason for his absence.
Then two days later, they faced off against a Coyotes team that is in the rebuilding phase and will likely find themselves in the bottom of the standings. Arizona has only scored two goals this season in 5-on-5 situations and made the Sabres’ lives easy as they only put up 19 shots on goal in regulation. Buffalo won that game in a shootout by a final score of 2-1.
Buffalo has had a relatively easy schedule to start the season and had some things break their way early on. I expect that to change in this game.
The Canucks are right in the middle of a huge road trip which is a big reason why the odds are a little lower than I was expecting, but they are still the better team in this matchup despite some struggles early on.
Two of Vancouver’s three games have reached overtime, and their one overtime loss came against a high-powered team in the Oilers. Outside of their most recent game against Detroit, which was the back end of a back-to-back, they have remained competitive and have put themselves in a position to win.
They should once again have no problem doing that in this one, except this time I expect them to close it out.
Thatcher Demko is expected to start in net for the Canucks, and when he is in net they always have a shot to win. In 5-on-5 situations Demko has an SV% of .939, and he has been pretty good in high danger situations as he has a HDSV% of .867, both of which rank him inside the top 20.
The offense and defense have been average so far, but there are some encouraging signs. Vancouver ranks seventh in Expected Goals For and they will likely find the back of the net often in this one in what is a great bounce back spot.
Canucks vs. Sabres Pick
A 2-0 start may give people some confidence in Buffalo, but they are still not a very talented team and have had an easy schedule to start the season.
Vancouver has had to go up against one of the best offenses in Edmonton and improved offensive attacks in Detroit and Philadelphia, both of which are averaging above 4.5 goals per game. Tonight provides them with a good matchup to turn the tide.
Two extra days of rest is all Vancouver likely needs to feel refreshed again, which will likely allow them to take control of this game and come out on top.
Pick: Canucks ML (-135) | Play to -145