NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick & Prediction: Sabres vs Rangers (April 10)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Buffalo Sabres
- The New York Rangers welcome the Buffalo Sabres into Madison Square Garden on Monday night.
- New York has been playing well of late, but Buffalo is fighting for a playoff berth.
- Carol Schram previews the matchup and offers up multiple betting options for Sabres vs Rangers below.
Sabres vs Rangers Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Buffalo Sabres will try to keep their faint playoff hopes alive when they visit Madison Square Garden to face the New York Rangers on Monday night.
With four games in five nights remaining on their schedule, the Sabres sit six points behind the Florida Panthers and New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference’s wild-card race.
As for the Rangers, they’ve been rolling along with a 6-2-2 record in their past 10 games. They have just two games remaining, but there’s still a chance they could move up from third in the Metropolitan Division.
There’s plenty to play for Monday. Here’s the latest on both teams, and three intriguing betting options for Sabres vs Rangers.
The Sabres, one of this year’s Cinderella squads, have already improved by 10 points from last season. They’ve been money on the road and are 23-12-3 away from KeyBank Center. They also have an impressive new goaltender between the pipes.
Devon Levi, 21, signed his entry-level contract with the Sabres on March 17 after two standout seasons at Northeastern University. In both years, he was the recipient of the Mike Richter Award, given to the top stopper in U.S. college hockey.
So far, Levi’s biggest challenge at the pro level was getting his immigration paperwork in place. Since being cleared to play, he’s started four of Buffalo’s past five games and gone 3-1-0. In that small sample size, he has already taken the lead among the Sabres’ four netminders with 2.0 goals saved above expected.
The Sabres are going into the first of two back-to-back sets this week. As of Sunday, there hasn’t been an official announcement about Don Granato’s goalie plans for Monday. But Levi has quickly earned his coach’s trust, and with every point being absolutely crucial to keeping Buffalo’s faint playoff hopes alive, it’s likely he’ll get the start against the Rangers.
With a 6-1-1 record in their last eight games, the Sabres have also been getting top-shelf performances from star players, including Rasmus Dahlin. And they’re healthy. Tage Thompson has been back in the lineup for the past three games and has logged two goals and two assists, including the game-winner in Buffalo’s 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
New York Rangers
If you’re surprised to see the Rangers just two points behind the New Jersey Devils and three back of the division-leading Hurricanes, take a look at their record over the past month. Since March 9, the Blueshirts are 12-2-3 (27 points), which is tops in the Eastern Conference and one point better than the Boston Bruins. Over that span, the Rangers have made up seven points on the Devils and 10 on the banged-up Canes.
And despite all the attention the Rangers’ forwards receive, the foundation of that success has come at the defensive end of the ice. New York has averaged just 2.00 goals against per game over the past month, the lowest mark in the league. The penalty kill has been a sharp 87.8%, and Igor Shesterkin is finding his Vezina-winning form at just the right time. Since March 9, he has a .940 save percentage and a 1.86 goals against average.
Puck possession was a weakness last season and still isn’t a strong suit. Despite their impressive record, the Rangers have controlled just 46.57% of expected goals at 5-on-5 over the past 10 games.
The Rangers are also healthy. Patrick Kane picked up an assist in his return against Columbus on Saturday and key defenseman Ryan Lindgren has suited up in three straight games after a lengthy absence due to an upper-body concern.
Sabres vs. Rangers Pick
The stakes are different — playoff positioning vs playoff life. And even if they win on Monday, Buffalo could be eliminated from the postseason chase if the Panthers and Islanders both win.
But all three of those contests start at the same time, so there’s no time for scoreboard watching. Expect to see the desperate Sabres give everything they have to keep their hopes alive a little longer.
It won’t be easy to win on the road as the Rangers are 23-12-4 at Madison Square Garden this season. However, the season series between these sides is closer than you might expect. In two games in Buffalo, the Rangers eked out a 2-1 overtime win on March 11, then fell 3-2 on March 31, also in overtime.
With another low-scoring battle likely looming, this game offers a few good options for bettors.
If you’re feeling bold, snap up the 60-minute tie at +400. If you like the Sabres, they’re a great value at +158. Additionally, you should be able to get close to plus money if you bet the under of 6.5.
Pick: Sabres Moneyline | Play to +140
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