NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Sabres vs. Kraken (November 29)
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Philipp Grubauer
Sabres vs. Kraken Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
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The Kraken head to Buffalo looking to complete the first season sweep in club history after they dominated the Sabres 5-2 on November 4th.
Buffalo holds four more points but will be a home underdog Monday night against a Seattle club that appears to be finding its form, having beaten some elite opposition of late.
Will we see Buffalo continue its standings free-fall after a promising 6-1-1 start to the campaign?
Seattle has finally received some reasonable goaltending and in turn has seen its strong play produce some victories, with wins in three of their last four. The Kraken have taken down the league’s top three teams in the Capitals, Hurricanes, and Panthers no less.
The Kraken have gotten awful goaltending from Philipp Grubauer and Chris Driedger, and the two have very clearly allowed a number of untimely soft goals in the early going this season. Their poor start is a big reason why I don’t think the Kraken are as bad as some metrics and their 7-13-1 record would indicate.
Grubauer’s poor play has been a very unwelcome surprise for Kraken fans. The 30-year-old German has proven himself at the NHL level, including a Vezina nomination last season, albeit while playing on an otherworldly Avalanche team.
Grubauer has seemed to find his game of late though, posting a .935 Save % across three starts versus some stiff competition in Washington, Carolina, and Tampa Bay. He will likely draw the start from coach Dave Hakstol Monday night.
Should the Kraken continue to see better net-minding results, the club can definitely trend upwards considerably, especially as they are skating at closer to full-health.
Mark Giordano and Calle Jarnkrok will both remain out for the Kraken.
It’s hard to fault the effort we have seen from Coach Don Granato’s Sabres group, and it’s probably not often that you can say a 25th place record is realistically far better than many expected, but here we are.
The roster quite possibly offers less talent than any team save Arizona. I think it’s a credit to the early work-rate from the club that they have even managed a 8-10-3 recording while receiving some relatively poor goaltending altogether.
However, the Sabres do hold just a 45.36 xGF% this season. Outside of a few positive stories, like Tage Thompson displaying some strong offensive play (including some lethal shooting abilities) and continued development from Victor Olofsson, the club very much has the look of the lottery outfit we all expected. The results have started to trend in that direction as well after the hot start to the season.
Dustin Tokarski should draw the start here with Craig Anderson still on the IR. Tokarski put together a strong effort against Detroit Saturday to earn the Sabres a point and altogether owns a .910 Save % and a -0.7 Goals Saved Above Expected rating.
Sabres vs. Kraken Pick
Buffalo may have more points for the time being, but I certainly feel that the talent discrepancy between these two clubs is significant. In the long-term, Seattle will blow past these Sabres in the standings this season.
It feels like there’s some good energy around this Kraken team right now. They are finally finding more of the positive results they deserved at times early on in the season with their three wins over elite competition last week.
I think there’s a good chance we see Seattle continue to build on those strong results and carry far more of the play here, specifically looking towards the middle-six where the Kraken hold significantly more depth.
Even looking toward the starting goaltending situation for the contest, which has been the clear flaw for the Kraken, it seems that both Grubauer and Driedger are finding their form. Either one still likely offers an advantage over Buffalo’s likely starter in Dustin Tokarski (but if they go back to Aaron Dell we will happily live with that).
Altogether, I think Seattle will play .500 or better hockey from here on out, and I see this as a good time to back them at a reasonable price against a very weak Sabres team.
Pick: Seattle Kraken Moneyline -140 (Play to -150)