NHL Odds, Expert Pick, Preview, Prediction: Sabres vs. Devils (Tuesday, April 11)
Photo by Michael Mooney/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Michael McLeod (Devils)
- New Jersey takes on Buffalo in a critical game in the Metropolitan Division.
- The Devils have been on fire offensively while the Sabres have mismanaged their goaltending situation heading into tonight's affair.
- Here's how we're betting this Eastern Conference duel.
Sabres vs. Devils Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Carolina Hurricanes have stumbled at the wrong time of the year. The Metropolitan Division leaders dropped a 3-2 decision to the Ottawa Senators on Monday night, leaving the back door open for the New Jersey Devils to usurp them atop the standings.
The Devils and Canes are level in games played, with New Jersey sitting one point back of Carolina for top spot.
That raises the stakes in Tuesday’s Eastern Conference showdown against the Buffalo Sabres.
How Do Sabres Overcome Disadvantage in Net?
The future is bright with Devon Levi between the pipes in Buffalo. The rookie netminder burst onto the scene with a 2.89 goals-against average, 90.8% save percentage and a 4-1-0 record to start his career. Included in that is Monday night’s victory over the seemingly unstoppable New York Rangers.
However, with the 21-year-old playing last night, the Sabres will turn to Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen on the second night of a back-to-back.
Luukkonen’s metrics are less impressive than Levi’s. The Finnish goaltender is stopping 89.1% of shots, with a more modest 3.61 goals-against average.
Worse, Luukkonen’s analytics put him in the bottom half of netminders, with a -14.1 goals saved above average and 82.9% powerplay save percentage.
The Sabres will have to crank up the offensive intensity to offset the disadvantage in net. Thankfully, they have some impressive offensive metrics coming into Tuesday night’s battle.
Buffalo has attempted 10 or more quality chances in four of its past six, averaging 11.5 per game. That’s had a profound impact on scoring, with the Sabres recording 24 goals over the six-game sample with an above-average 11.5% shooting percentage.
That’s a strength they’ll have to lean into against the Devils.
Devils’ Offense is on Fire
New Jersey has been one of the most impressive offensive teams in the NHL this year. The Metropolitan Division contenders lead the league in scoring and high-danger chances.
Somehow, they’ve set the bar even higher over their recent sample size, steamrolling their opponents along the way.
Since March 19, the Devils have attempted no fewer than 11 quality opportunities in any of their 11 outings. Further, they’ve amplified their production, with an average of 14.5 high-danger and 32.1 scoring chances.
That’s given them an edge over virtually every one of their opponents, as the Devils haven’t been outplayed in quality chances in any of those matchups.
Predictably, this has shifted the expected goals-for ratings further in New Jersey’s favor. The only game the Devils were outplayed in was Saturday night against the historic Boston Bruins.
Otherwise, the Devils have posted game scores above 50.0% in the 10 other contests, with a cumulative 59.5% expected goals-for rating over the 11-game sample.
Those metrics will likely continue against a tired Sabres team that is skating on consecutive nights and for the third time in four days.
Sabres vs. Devils Pick
There should be no shortage of offense in this matchup. The Devils can pressure their division rivals, overtaking them at least momentarily in the standings with a win.
New Jersey has been an analytic darling this year and has been even more unstoppable lately.
The Sabres misplayed their goaltending situation ahead of tonight’s showdown and don’t play with the defensive structure to prevent New Jersey’s league-best offense. Still, Buffalo has put forth some solid offensive efforts and could mitigate the defensive shortcomings with additional time in the attacking zone.
This one could get messy, and the Devils won’t let the moment pass them by. We’re backing the home team in what should be a high-scoring affair.
Pick:Devils -200 | Over 7 +100
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