NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick & Prediction: Sabres vs. Capitals (Wednesday, March 15)
Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Nic Dowd and Martin Fehérváry.
- The Washington Capitals host the Buffalo Sabres in a Wednesday night NHL tilt.
- This line is tight and both teams are coming into it desperate for a victory.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including how to bet it.
Sabres vs. Capitals Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
After a much needed win on Monday, the Buffalo Sabres head to Washington to face the Capitals. Prior to the win, the Sabres have played poor hockey (including allowing 10 goals in one game) and have gone 4-5-1 in their last 10. They need to win this to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference gauntlet.
Washington is another team that has struggled, losing Tuesday night to the Rangers. The Capitals are also 4-5-1 in their last 10 and are desperate for a win. Needless to say, this game is massive for both sides, especially the Capitals, who have played two more games than the Sabres.
Here’s a look at the odds, as well as my prediction for the Buffalo Sabres vs. Washington Capitals.
Buffalo is coming into this game a bit hobbled. All-Star defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is day-to-day, defenseman Mattias Samuelsson is week-to-week, and Eric Comrie will be out. Regardless, the Sabres have a potent offense led by scorers Tage Thompson, Jeff Skinner, Alex Tuch and Dylan Cozens.
Generating a sustainable offense this month has been a struggle. The Sabres are 29th in expected goals since March 1 with a 41.51 xGF%. They have a wonderful power play, converting 24.7% of the time, but have only converted twice their last five games.
With Samuelsson (and maybe Dahlin) out, I expect the defense to struggle. The last time Samuelsson was out for an extended time, they went on an eight-game losing streak. It’s also worthy to note that they own the second worst penalty kill.
Craig Anderson started on Monday, so I expect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to start tonight. UPL, as he’s called, is starting to come into his own, playing to a .913 SV% through the month of March. Overall, he’s also playing to a -0.2 goals saved above expected (GSAx).
Washington is always a threat when Alex Ovechkin takes the ice. However, Ovechkin missed Tuesday night’s game, so his status for tonight is questionable. His partner, Evgeny Kuznetsov, will be relied upon along with Dylan Strome.
The Capitals are also reaping the benefits of acquiring Rasmus Sandin over the trade deadline. The young defenseman has nine points in five games, making a massive difference in their defense corps.
Similar to their counterparts, the Capitals have had a hard time creating an even strength attack. They’re 27th with a lowly 42.14 xGF%, and the power play has gone one for its last 11 tries, which is concerning.
Normally a Peter Laviolette-coached team is strong defensively, but Washington has struggled this year. It’s ranked seventh worst this month in xGA/60 (expected goals per 60 minutes) with a 3.14 pace. The penalty kill is strong though, and has succeeded on 12 of their last 13 kills.
Since Darcy Kuemper started Tuesday night, I would assume Charlie Lindgren is between the pipes tonight. Lindgren hasn’t started since February 26th, and is having a solid backup season. He’s playing to a +1.6 GSAx and a .905 SV%.
Sabres vs. Capitals Pick
I can see this becoming a higher scoring game. While both teams have struggled on the offensive end, the defenses have suffered, notably Buffalo’s. Washington is very capable of turning this into a shooting gallery, especially if Ovechkin returns. I also like the netminders, but both Lindgren and Luukkonen can be unpredictable.
Essentially these teams are the same and there’s a lot at stake. Usually in games like this, it can be tight checking and defense-oriented, but there’s a lot of upside for a lot of volume getting thrown at the net. Not only are both teams capable of allowing a lot of goals, but they’re capable of scoring them.
I can see this reaching over the total.
Pick: Over 6.5 (-124)
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