Buffalo Sabres vs. Carolina Hurricanes Game Preview

Squaring off for the third and final time this year, the Buffalo Sabres and the Carolina Hurricanes take the ice at PNC Arena in an Eastern Conference showdown. The action gets started at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, December 23, and fans at home can catch the game live on MSG Western New York.

Buffalo Sabres at Carolina Hurricanes Odds

Carolina is 15-19 straight up (SU) and has lost 5.4 units for moneyline bettors this year. That early-season winning percentage is right in line with the 36-46 record the team posted during the 2016-17 season campaign. Through 34 regular season outings, 16 of the teams games have gone over the total, while another 16 have gone under and just two have pushed. This season, the team is 7-7 SU at home.

The Hurricanes have converted on just 15.2 percent of their power play chances this season, a mark that’s ranked 28th overall in the NHL. On the other hand, their penalty kill is ranked 28th overall, and they’ve successfully killed off 76.7 percent of all penalties.

As a collective unit, the Hurricanes have been penalized just 2.9 times per game overall this season, and 3.6 per game over their last five contests. The teams had to kill penalties for just 8.7 minutes per game over their last 10 outings, overall.

Averaging 24.5 saves per game with a .896 save percentage, Scott Darling (8-16-6) has been the top option in goal for the Canes this year. If Carolina chooses to give him the night off, however, the team might turn to Cam Ward (7-4-4 record, .911 save percentage, 2.87 goals against average).

The Canes will continue relying on leadership via Jeff Skinner and Teuvo Teravainen. Skinner (25 points) has put up 12 goals and 13 assists and has recorded two or more points on four different occasions this year. Teravainen has eight goals and 17 assists to his credit and has notched at least one point in 15 games.

On the other side of the rink, Buffalo is 9-26 straight up (SU) and has lost 18.3 units for bettors taking the moneyline thus far. Through 35 regular season outings, 19 of its games have gone under the total, while 12 have gone over and just three have pushed. The Sabres are 4-14 SU as the away team this season.

The Sabres have converted on just 12.5 percent of their power play opportunities this season, a figure that places them 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 82.4 percent of all opponent power plays.

Buffalo’s players have been penalized 3.7 times per game this season, and 5.2 per game over their last five road outings. The teams been forced to kill penalties just 7.0 minutes per game over their last five outings.

Robin Lehner (26.7 saves per game) has been the primary option in the net for Buffalo. Lehner has eight wins, 19 losses, and four overtime losses to his credit, while registering a .915 save percentage and 2.73 goals against average this year.

Leading the offensive attack for the visiting Sabres will be Evander Kane (15 goals, 18 assists) and Jack Eichel (13 goals, 17 assists).

Buffalo Sabres vs. Carolina Hurricanes Betting Picks

Predictions: SU Winner – Hurricanes, O/U – Over

Betting Notes

  • The Sabres are 2-7 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 7-19 in games where they serve fewer than 10 total penalty minutes.
  • Carolina (3-3 in shootouts) has more experience this season in games decided by shootout. Buffalo fell short in its lone shootout this season.
  • The total has gone under in three of Carolina’s last five outings.
  • Carolina skaters have averaged 17.6 giveaways over its last five home games, a rise over its season average of 9.9 giveaways per game (ranked 18th).
  • Buffalo skaters have averaged 4.4 giveaways over its last five home games, an improvement from its season average of 7.4 giveaways per game (ranked fifth overall).
  • Buffalo skaters have accounted for the leagues seventh-most hits per game (23.4).