NHL Odds, Expert Pick, Preview & Prediction: Sabres vs. Canadiens (November 22)
Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Nick Suzuki
- The Canadiens are favored at home in tonight's NHL matchup with the Sabres.
- Buffalo is looking to snap an eight-game losing streak, but is this the matchup it can do it?
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Sabres vs. Canadiens Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Buffalo Sabres head up to Quebec in hopes to end their eight-game losing streak against the Montreal Canadiens. After a red hot October, the team from Western New York is having a hard time staying in the win column as they stand in seventh in the Atlantic Division.
Montreal has been the beacon of inconsistency all season. It’s either going on a winning streak or a losing streak. It’s clear that the Habs are still learning about themselves, but after a win against Philly, they’ll look to start a new win streak.
Can Montreal move ahead in the standings, or will Buffalo end their losing streak?
Sabres In Their Annual Funk
I feel like the Sabres are always due for a dreadful stretch every year.. They have such a talented team, but there’s always a time where they find themselves struggling.
I do like this team despite their eight-game losing streak. Tage Thompson is a budding star and Rasmus Dahlin is becoming a solid defenseman after a few disappointing years. Not only that, but Alex Tuch is averaging just fewer than a point per game, and Dylan Cozens is blossoming into a solid player as he gets older.
Because of this poor stretch, Buffalo has found itself lower and lower in the expected goals rankings. It plays to a 18th best 48.97 xGF% and generates the 17th most high danger chances. While the Sabres’ 5-on-5 play is nothing to write home about, their power play is stellar, scoring at a 23.3% rate.
I was expecting worse 5-on-5 defensive numbers, as Buffalo stands at a 17th best 2.7 xGA/60, but what really hurts the team is its penalty kill. The Sabres don’t find themselves in the penalty box often, and they still have the fourth worst penalty kill with a 70.2% success rate.
Eric Comrie has started most games for Buffalo, but he has found himself injured for a few weeks. My guess is that coach Don Granato will look to 41-year-old Craig Anderson, since Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen got handed a beating in Toronto. Anderson hasn’t been bad given his age, but 41-year-olds are impossible to predict. He’s currently posting a .910 SV% and playing to a +0.9 goals saved above expected (GSAx).
Numbers Don’t Line Up For Canadiens
Since getting named captain of the Habs, Nick Suzuki has turned into a star and the face of the franchise. He’s enjoying the best start of his four-year career with 23 points in 18 games. Along with Suzuki, Cole Caufield is one of the top goal scorers in the league, Kirby Dach is lighting it up, and Sean Monahan is having a solid year. This Montreal team is definitely a team on the rise.
Even with all the talent on the Habs, the models don’t favor them that much. They rank 26th in 5-on-5 expected goals with a 46.22 xGF% and place in the bottom five in high danger chances created. The power play can also be better, as they only score 18% of the time. So overall, they’re an average team analytically, but sometimes the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Defensively 5-on-5, they’re not very good at all, as they have a 2.87 xGA/60 but the penalty kill holds strong. Montreal’s penalty kill stands at eighth in the league with an 81.4% success rate.
I would presume Jake Allen gets the nod tonight. He’s been the more consistent netminder playing to a +3.4 GSAx and an .898 SV%. While the save percentage is underwhelming, Allen has been solid as can be in net. If coach Martin St. Louis decides to go to Samuel Montembault, he’s not a bad play either as he plays to a .915 SV% as well as +2.5 GSAx, so monitor this closer to game time.
Sabres vs. Canadiens Pick
Buffalo’s recent losing streak is definitely a red flag. The Sabres were an interesting team to take a look at at the beginning of the season, but an eight-game losing streak is not something to be bullish about. Not only that, but if Anderson takes the net, I can see Montreal taking advantage of him. While Anderson has held strong, you can never tell what happens with a goaltender, especially at his age.
The Canadiens have proven that they can go on runs and I think this is a game to continue their run. With Buffalo’s struggles and Montreal’s high-end talent at the forefront, I can see the Habs taking this in regulation.
The Sabres have only reached overtime once in the last eight games and I think Montreal’s talent can overtake them in regulation.
Pick: Montreal Canadiens 3-Way Line +130