Free NHL Picks: Carolina Hurricanes at Buffalo Sabres Odds and Predictions
by George Monroy - 2/24/2014
The NHL season resumes on Tuesday night with a matchup between the Carolina Hurricanes and the league-worst Buffalo Sabres. Most teams will enter the final stretch of the season healthy and ready to make a playoff push over the final 20-something games of the year. Buffalo is still sitting in last place in the Western Conference standings and 26 points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the final playoff spot. At this point, the Sabres may have already begun preparing for the offseason break.
Carolina, on the other hand, is right in the mix for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes and five other teams are crammed together in the standings with anywhere from 61 to 64 points—the next two months of the season will probably be an all-out sprint to the finish line. Let’s take a look at Tuesday’s matchup with predictions and analysis.
Hurricanes at Sabres Betting Story Lines
Carolina was one of those teams that might have been hurt by the nearly three-week Olympic break. The squad had won six of its last nine matchups prior to the late-season hiatus, which included two solid wins against Columbus and St. Louis. However, Carolina will open up the final part of the season with five straight road games and play seven of its next 10 games outside of its home arena. The team will also face a brutal stretch in its schedule where it plays Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose in three consecutive games.
On the offensive end, Carolina has been led by Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner. Staal leads the team with 45 points—31 assists and 14 goals—while Skinner leads the group with 23 goals and 40 total points. Starting goaltender Anton Khudobin struggled in his last few outings before the break, but he has been an excellent goaltender for Carolina since he took over the starting job back in January.
Buffalo may be the worst offensive team in the league, and the sad truth is that things will not improve any time soon. The squad averages 1.8 goals per game, which is ranked last in the entire NHL, and it has a points leader with only 30 points—there are a few players that have recorded 30 points just in assists.
The Sabres went into the break on a horrible four-game losing streak—they were outscored 18-6—and having lost 11 of their last 13 games. Buffalo will finish off the month with three straight home games and then will enter a stretch of seven road games over its next 10 matchups.
Hurricanes at Sabres NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
Carolina opened as a slight -126 favorite over the +114 underdog Sabres at BetOnline, while the total as set at five goals, with the “over” being favored at -121. Buffalo is 5-1 in its last six games against teams with losing record and in its last five games after scoring two goals or less in its previous matchup. The team is 10-4 against the Eastern Conference and 2-8 in its last 10 games played on three or more days worth of rest. Carolina has gone “under” in four of its last five road games.
Buffalo is 1-6 in its last seven games against the Metropolitan Division and 0-8 in its last eight home games. The team is also 0-4 in its last four Tuesday games and 0-7 in its last seven home games against teams with losing road records. Buffalo has gone over in four of its last five Tuesday games. Head-to-head, Carolina is 4-0 in the last four matchups between the two teams.
Free NHL Picks: Carolina Hurricanes at Buffalo Sabres Predictions
Buffalo is a small underdog at home after coming back from the three-week break—that is how little the oddsmakers think of the Sabres. Buffalo is a bad team, struggles on offense and probably did not spend the hiatus trying to improve. Carolina, on the other hand, knows how close the team is to the eighth spot in the East and should come into Tuesday’s matchup motivated for the last part of the season. Take Carolina as a small road favorite.
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