PPG Paints Arena is the site for an Eastern Conference clash as the Buffalo Sabres visit Western PA to meet the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s the third and final time that these two clubs will go at it in the regular season. The opening face-off takes place at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, December 2, and you’ll be able to watch the game live on AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh.
Buffalo Sabres at Pittsburgh Penguins Odds
Losing 3.1 units for moneyline bettors, the Penguins are 14-13 straight up (SU) overall this year. That early-season winning percentage is a regression from the 50-32 record that the team posted during last years regular season campaign. Among the teams 27 games this season, 15 have gone over the total, while 11 have gone under and none have pushed. The teams 8-3 SU at home this year.
Pittsburgh currently has the third-strongest power-play unit in the NHL, as it has scored on 26.0 percent of their extra-man advantages this year. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked 23rd overall, and it’s successfully killed off 77.6 percent of all penalties.
As a team, Pittsburgh has been whistled for penalties 4.7 times per game overall this season, and 3.8 per game over its past five outings. The team has been forced to defend opponent power plays for just 8.0 minutes per game over its last five outings, in total.
Sporting a .906 save percentage and 26.6 saves per game, Matt Murray (12-9-1) has been the top option in goal for the Penguins this year. If they decide to give him a breather, however, head coach Mike Sullivan might roll with Tristan Jarry (3-2-2 record, .929 save percentage, 2.20 goals against average).
The Pens will continue to rely on offensive production from Phil Kessel and Sidney Crosby. Kessel (32 points) has produced 11 goals and 21 assists and has recorded two or more points in eight different games this year. Crosby has 11 goals and 16 assists to his name and has recorded a point in 16 games.
On the other side of the rink, Buffalo is 6-20 straight up (SU) and has lost 13.4 units for moneyline bettors this year. A total of 13 of its contests have gone under the total, while 10 have gone over and just two have pushed. As the away team so far, Buffalo is 3-10 SU.
Buffalo has converted on just 12.2 percent of its power play chances this year, a figure that places it in the bottom- overall among NHL teams. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked 13th overall and it’s successfully killed off 81.3 percent of all penalties.
Buffalo’s players have been penalized only 3.4 times per game this season, and 2.6 per game over their last five match ups. The team has been forced to defend opponent power plays just 6.9 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.
Robin Lehner (24.3 saves per game) has been the primary option in the net for Buffalo. Lehner has five wins, 15 losses, and two overtime losses to his credit, while registering a .903 save percentage and 2.98 goals against average this year.
Evander Kane (12 goals, 11 assists) will pace the offensive counter for the visiting Sabres.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Betting Predictions
Predictions: SU Winner – Penguins, O/U – Over
- The total has gone over in four of Pittsburgh’s last five outings.
- Buffalo has managed 30.2 shot attempts per game over its last five road games while Pittsburgh is averaging 42.4 shots per game over its last five at home.
- The Sabres are 2-7 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 6-15 in games where they’re in the box for fewer than 10 total penalty minutes.
- Pittsburgh has created 5.2 takeaways per game over its last five home games, a slight drop from its season average of 5.9 takeaways per game (ranked 27th overall).
- Buffalo has averaged 2.1 goals per game as a team this season, but is down to 0.0 goals per match up over its last three games (0-3 SU over that span).
- Buffalo is ranked 30th overall this season with 5.2 takeaways per game. That figure has trended down lately, however, as the team has created 4.2 takeaways over its last 10 games and 4.0 takeaways over its last five.
- Pittsburgh might hold an advantage if this one comes down to the wire. The teams 9-7 in games decided by one goal, while Buffalo is 3-8 in such games.