NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Sabres vs. Panthers (April 4)
Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Tuch.
- The Florida Panthers host the Buffalo Sabres in a key NHL matchup on Tuesday night.
- Both teams are in the thick of the postseason race, but Buffalo might be a tad more desperate for a victory in this one.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including how to bet it.
Sabres vs. Panthers Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
The Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers are neck-and-neck in the Eastern Conference playoff race right now and their meeting on Tuesday night has massive implications.
Both of these teams have had a strong showing as of late, with the Panthers winning three straight games and the Sabres winning four out of their last five contests.
The Sabres are currently four points behind the Panthers and five points out of the playoffs with two games in hand.
The Panthers are heavy favorites in this game, deservingly so, but the last time Buffalo came to town as an underdog it was able to come away with two points.
Tage Thompson seems likely to make his return to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a lower-body injury and he could be the difference-maker in this contest if he dresses. He was out on the ice during practice and he has been the facilitator for this team all season long.
Casey Mittlestadt has stepped up in Thompson’s absence, tallying seven assists in the last five games along with his linemates, Jeff Skinner who has added three goals with two assists in that span, and Alex Tuch, who has five goals with two assists in those games as well.
Buffalo continues to be one of the best offensive teams in the NHL, currently the third-highest goals per game, averaging 3.59 while also skating to the seventh-best power-play which is converting at a 23.8%. That being said, the Sabres’ man-advantage unit hasn’t converted in back-to-back games, so they are due for one in this battle as they are facing one of the worst penalty-killing units in the NHL.
The biggest question mark for Buffalo is the goaltending. The Sabres haven’t announced a starter yet for this game, but the net-minders have not been very consistent this season. Luckily for them, they are also facing a third-string goalie for the Panthers tonight, so goaltending might not matter as much for them.
The Panthers are only one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and they have picked up momentum once again. Despite the fact that they have won three games in a row, they are facing some adversity right now as they are without their Nos. 1 and 2 goaltenders.
Alex Lyon has been outstanding in his last three starts, going 3-0-0 with a 1.33 goals against average and a .951 save percentage, but this is certainly not sustainable. He is skating to a 6-3-1 record with a .899 save percentage and a 3.24 goals against average on the season, but he also has a -1.4 goals saved above expected.
The Panthers have been just as strong as the Sabres have been when it comes to producing offensively; they are right behind Buffalo as the fourth-highest-scoring team in the league, averaging 3.51 goals per game.
Sabres vs. Panthers Pick
All of the pressure in this game is on the home team and sometimes that pressure can get a team like the Panthers. Their previous two opponents were not very good ones in the Montreal Canadiens and Columbus Blue Jackets, so this will certainly feel like a different pace as the Sabres will have plenty of more urgency.
The Sabres are way too undervalued in this game since they are still in the playoff picture, especially if they are getting Thompson back, which seems more likely than not.
I don’t trust Lyon at all and I love the value on Buffalo in this game. I’m rocking with the Sabres.
Pick: Sabres +160
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