Buffalo Sabres vs. Montreal Canadiens Free Preview 3/23/19

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Bell Centre will play host to an intriguing clash as the Montreal Canadiens take the ice against the visiting Buffalo Sabres. It’s the fourth and last time that the two clubs will meet in the regular season. The opening face-off takes place at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 23, and you can catch this divisional matchup live on TVA Sports.

Buffalo Sabres at Montreal Canadiens Odds

Buffalo (+175) is entering this one as the underdog to Montreal (-205) and the Over/Under (O/U) has been placed at 6 goals. If gamblers want to play the game’s total, they’ll be looking at odds of -115 money on the over and -105 on the under.

The Canadiens are 39-35 straight up (SU) and have earned 4.4 units for moneyline bettors this season. That early-season winning percentage is a refreshing turnaround from how the team performed during last year’s regular season (29-53). Among its 74 games this season, 30 have gone under the total, while 30 have gone over and just four have pushed. The team’s 21-16 SU at home this season.

Montreal’s converted on just 12.3 percent of its power play opportunities this year, a figure that places the team in the bottom- overall among NHL teams. On the other hand, its penalty kill is rated 14th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 80.6 percent of all penalties.

As a team, Montreal has been penalized 3.7 times per game overall this season, and 2.3 per game over its last ten outings. The team’s had to kill penalties for just 5.1 minutes per game over its last 10 outings, in total.

Averaging 27.1 saves per game with a .917 save percentage, Carey Price (31-28-5) has been the top option in goal for the Canadiens this season. If they decide to give him the evening off, however, head coach Claude Julien could turn to Antti Niemi (8-9-9 record, .887 save percentage, 3.78 goals against average).

Max Domi and Jonathan Drouin will each lead the charge for the Canadiens. Domi (64 points) has tallied 25 goals and 39 assists and has recorded two or more points 15 times this year. Drouin has 18 goals and 34 assists to his credit and has notched a point in 32 games.

In the other locker room, Buffalo is 31-42 straight up (SU) and has lost 7.8 units for bettors taking the moneyline this year. Through 73 regular season matches, 39 of its games have gone over the total, while 31 have gone under the total and just three have pushed. Buffalo’s 11-25 SU as the visiting team this season.

Buffalo has converted on 18.3 percent of its power play opportunities this season, a mark that’s right around league average. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked ninth overall and it’s successfully defended 81.7 percent of all opponent power plays.

Buffalo’s players have been called for penalties only 3.2 times per game in total this season, and 3.8 per game over their last five road outings. The team’s been forced to defend opponent power plays just 7.8 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Carter Hutton (27.8 saves per game) has been the main choice in the net for Buffalo. Hutton has 17 wins, 28 losses, and five OT losses to his credit, and has registered a .911 save percentage and 2.88 goals against average this year.

For the visiting Sabres, the offense will run through Jack Eichel, who’s got 48 assists and 25 goals on the year.

Buffalo Sabres vs. Montreal Canadiens Betting Predictions

Prediction: SU Winner – Sabres, O/U – Under

Betting Trends

  • The under has hit in each of Montreal’s last five outings.
  • Buffalo has managed 33.4 shot attempts per game over its last five road games while Montreal is averaging 39.0 shots per game over its last five home outings.
  • The Sabres are 11-20 in games where they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 24-30 when they serve fewer than 10 total penalty minutes.
  • Two of Buffalo’s past 10 outings have gone to a shootout. The team is 1-1 in those games and 5-3 overall in shootouts this season.
  • Montreal skaters have managed 8.0 takeaways per game over its last five home games, a slight drop from its season average of 7.4 takeaways per game (ranked 19th).
  • Buffalo has created 6.8 takeaways per game over its last five road games, its season average of 6.4 takeaways per game (ranked 27th in the NHL).