Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres Matchup Preview

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In their second head-to-head meeting of the regular season, the Washington Capitals and the Buffalo Sabres face off at the KeyBank Center for an Eastern Conference tilt. NBC Sports Washington will showcase the matchup, which gets going at 3 p.m. ET on Monday, February 19.

Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres Odds

Washington is 33-25 straight up (SU) and has earned 3.1 units for moneyline bettors this year. Through 58 regular season matches, 35 of its games have gone over the total, while 23 have gone under and none have pushed. The Caps are 13-15 SU as an away team in 2017-18. Washington has converted on 20.9 percent of its power play opportunities this season, a figure that’s right around league average. Its penalty kill is ranked 19th in the league, and the teams successfully killed off 79.9 percent of its penalties. The Caps, as a collective unit, have been sent to the penalty box 4.2 times per game overall this season, and 4.8 per game over its last five road outings. The team has been forced to kill penalties 12.4 minutes per contest over their last five road games. Averaging 28.9 saves per game with a .911 save percentage, Braden Holtby (28-15-4) has been the primary option in goal for Washington this year. If Washington decides to rest him, however, head coach Barry Trotz might turn to Philipp Grubauer (5-15-3), who has a .914 save percentage and 2.66 goals against average this year. Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov will both look to continue their strong seasons for the visiting Capitals. Ovechkin (65 points) is up to 34 goals and 31 assists, and has recorded multiple points in 18 different games. Kuznetsov has 15 goals and 39 assists to his credit (and has logged a point in 36 games). Buffalo is 17-42 straight up (SU) and has lost 19.4 units for moneyline bettors this year. 29 of its outings have gone under the total, while 27 have gone over and just three have pushed. It’s 8-21 SU at home this season. The Sabres have converted on just 17.4 percent of their power play opportunities this year, a figure that’s ranked 26th in the NHL. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked 21st overall, and it’s successfully killed off 79.3 percent of all opponent power plays. Buffalo players have been sent to the penalty box 3.7 times per game in total this season, and 4.6 per game over their last five games. The team has been forced to kill penalties just 8.4 minutes per contest over their last five home games. Robin Lehner (26.8 saves per game) has been the primary netminder in goal for the Sabres. Lehner has 12 wins, 32 losses, and eight OT losses and has recorded a mediocre 2.95 goals against average and a poor .910 save percentage this season. The home team will be led on offense by Jack Eichel (22 goals, 31 assists).

Washington Capitals at Buffalo Sabres Betting Predictions

Free NHL Pick: SU Winner – Sabres, O/U – Under

Betting Notes

  • Over Washington’s last ten games, six of them have been decided by two or more goals (the team is 4-2 in those games).
  • Power plays and penalty kills could be critical in the outcome of this game. The Capitals are 12-5 in games where they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 17-12 when they serve fewer than 10 penalty minutes, in total. The Sabres are 5-14 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than the opposition and 13-29 when they’re in the box for less than 10 minutes.
  • Washington could have an advantage if it’s a tight one late. The teams 14-11 in games decided by one goal, while Buffalo is only 7-20 in such games.
  • The total has gone over in four of Buffalo’s last five outings.
  • Buffalo skaters have averaged 6.0 giveaways over its last five home games, an improvement from its season average of 7.0 giveaways per game (the 6th-fewest in the league).
  • Washington is ranked 25th this season with 11.0 giveaways per game. That figure has trended down, however, as the teams averaged 7.8 giveaways over its last 10 games and 9.4 giveaways over its last five.
  • This game features two of the more aggressive teams in the league. Washington skaters have accounted for the 10th-most hits in the league (22.4 per game) and the Sabres have registered the 10th-most (22.4).