NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Sabres vs. Rangers (March 27)
Elsa/Getty Images. Pictured: New York Rangers standout Artemi Panarin, left, celebrates with teammates.
- The Sabres look to continue their form as giant-slayers as heavy underdogs to the New York Rangers.
- Our NHL analyst takes a look at where the betting value lies in the matchup.
- Read on to learn why expected regression from goaltenders makes the total a wise play.
Sabres vs. Rangers Odds
|Time||5 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Buffalo Sabres have earned a David-esque reputation over their recent schedule, slaying some of the NHL’s goliaths.
They take that momentum into their Eastern Conference battle against the New York Rangers on Sunday evening, looking for their eighth win over the past 12 games.
Buffalo has been on a commendable run, but it will have to keep pace with a Rangers offense that is trending positively. That should lead to offensive fireworks at Madison Square Garden.
The Sabres have seven wins and 15 points over their past 11 games, which is more wins than they had from December 17 of 2021 through March 2 this year. Improved offensive metrics are contributing to their success, and the team isn’t slowing down.
Buffalo has amassed nine or more high-danger chances in four of its past six games, scoring three or more goals in three straight contests. There’s been an increased emphasis on offense, with the Sabres equaling or out-chancing their opponents in shots and quality opportunities in four-of-six. That balance is a good indicator that the Sabres are due for sustained success.
Goaltending has also been on an upward trajectory, but I’m anticipating a letdown from Craig Anderson on Sunday. The 40-year-old has an 89.0% save percentage and 3.55 goals-against average on the road this season.
Anderson’s save percentage has inflated beyond the season norms over his past few starts. The American goaltender is stopping 91.3% of shots over his last five outings, posting in-game save percentages above 93.0% in three of those.
Inevitably, his metrics will start working back down towards average, and that should come on the road against one of the most dangerous offenses in the league.
New York Rangers
The Rangers have one of the more gifted offenses in the NHL, and they’ve been operating efficiently over their current schedule. The Broadway Blueshirts have increased their production over their past couple of games, which has directly impacted output.
New York has combined for 53 scoring and 22 high-danger attempts at five-on-five over their last two games, translating to nine goals. Those will continue to flow naturally for the Rangers as they maintain that solid production.
Improved offensive play hasn’t improved the Rangers’ substandard defensive zone coverage. New York has given up 10 or more quality chances in six-of-nine and 23 or more scoring chances in five-of-nine. Those ineffective performances have pushed the Rangers to the bottom of most defensive categories, giving up the second-most scoring and seventh-most high-danger opportunities this season throughout the NHL.
Goaltending has been a difference-maker for the Rangers all season, but the Rangers goalies could also be reaching a tipping point over their coming games.
Igor Shesterkin and Alexander Georgiev have combined for a 92.8% save percentage over their past five games, posting above-average save percentages in four of the five outings. Like Anderson, Rangers goalies are operating outside normal ranges, leaving little doubt that a letdown is coming.
Sabres vs. Rangers Pick
I am expecting a high-scoring affair on Sunday night.
Both teams’ goalies are operating outside of normal ranges, and both offenses have had a knack for finding the back of the net recently. Two free-wheeling offenses could send this game over sooner rather than later with regression expected from each goaltender.
Pick: Over 5.5 (-115)