Friday NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Boston Bruins vs. Buffalo Sabres Betting Preview (October 22)
Bill Wippert/Getty Images. Pictured: Dustin Tokarski
- The Boston Bruins go up against the Buffalo Sabres in Friday's NHL showdown.
- Grant White believes the defenses will take center stage in this intriguing matchup.
- Check out below his two favorite wagers, including one at solid plus money.
Bruins vs. Sabres Odds
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There probably won't be too many games this season where the Boston Bruins are looking up at the Buffalo Sabres and looking to catch their division rivals in the standings.
That's the position the Bruins find themselves in on Friday night as the Sabres are undefeated through their first three games of the season.
Linus Ullmark spent the first six years of his career with the Sabres before signing a four-year contract with the Bruins this past off-season. It's a deliberate move on the Bruins' part to announce him as their starter well in advance of his Friday night homecoming. Ullmark gets his first start of the season on a typically strong Bruins squad.
Boston put up above-average metrics through their first two games, posting consecutive expected goals-for percentages above 56.5% across all strengths. In their most recent outing, the Bruins were particularly dominant by out-chancing the Philadelphia Flyers 16-5 in high-danger chances and 38-20 in scoring opportunities.
That was a pronounced difference between their first game of the season, in which they attempted just 25 scoring and five high-danger chances. The difference, of course, was Boston played with the lead against the Dallas Stars in their first game and trailed Philadelphia from start to finish in their second game. It is a balance worth monitoring throughout the Bruins schedule.
It's the first night of a back-to-back for the Sabres, which means goaltending usage will be a critical component to this matchup. Analytics dictates that Dustin Tokarski should get the start, saving primary goalie Craig Anderson for Saturday.
Tokarski's taken the path less traveled to get to the Chell, playing just 48 games in the league since getting drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 draft. The 32-year-old has a 90.5% save percentage with -9.5 goals saved above average in his big league career. Tokarski looked sharp against the Arizona Coyotes but will face a much different challenge against the Bruins.
It helps that Tokarski has a much improved Sabres team skating in front of him, though. Buffalo has allowed 19 high-danger chances at five-on-five through three games this season. Consequently, that has resulted in an expected goals-for percentage above 60.0% in all three games. This isn't the Sabres team of seasons past, and they are coming to compete every night.
Bruins vs. Sabres Pick
Expect the Bruins to play a neutralizing game, focusing on defensive structure rather than playing a run-and-gun style of game.
That should result in a low-scoring contest between these division rivals, taking longer than 60 minutes to resolve. Under 5.5 and regulation tie is how we are approaching this one.
Pick: Under 5.5 -105 | Tie +380