Buffalo Sabres vs. Ottawa Senators Free Preview

Considered by some to be the two weakest clubs in the NHL, the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators take the ice at Canadian Tire Centre in an Atlantic Division matchup. This one gets started at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 8 and it’s being televised live on MSG Western New York.

Buffalo Sabres vs. Ottawa Senators Odds

Buffalo (+125) is playing the role of underdog to Ottawa (-145) and the oddsmakers have put the Over/Under (O/U) at 6 goals (-110 for the over, -110 for the under).

Ottawa is 23-42 straight up (SU) and has lost 17.1 units for moneyline bettors this year. That early-season winning percentage is a regression from the 44-38 record that the team managed during the 2016-17 season campaign. Through 65 regular season outings, 34 of its games have gone over the total, while 31 have gone under and none have pushed. The team’s 14-18 SU at home this year.

The Senators have converted on just 16.7 percent of their power play opportunities this season, a figure that’s ranked 26th overall in the NHL. On the other hand, their penalty kill is ranked 29th overall, and they’ve successfully killed off 75.5 percent of all penalties.

The Senators, as a collective unit, have been penalized 3.6 times per game overall this season, and 2.8 per game over their last five at home. The team has had to kill penalties for just 6.3 minutes per game over their last 10 outings, in total.

Boasting a .901 save percentage and 27.5 saves per game, Craig Anderson (20-28-5) has been the primary option in goal for Ottawa this year. If the Sens choose to give him a rest, however, Ottawa may go with Mike Condon (5-19-19 record, .901 save percentage, 3.24 goals against average).

The Sens will continue to rely on offensive production from Mark Stone and Erik Karlsson. Stone (61 points) has tallied 20 goals and 41 assists and has recorded two or more points 20 times this year. Karlsson has seven goals and 42 assists to his credit and has notched at least one point in 29 contests.

Buffalo is 21-46 straight up (SU) and has lost 14.8 units for bettors taking the moneyline thus far. A total of 33 of its matches have gone under the total, while 29 have gone over and just four have pushed. As a road team, the Sabres are 11-23 SU.

The Sabres have converted on just 17.2 percent of their power play opportunities this year, a figure that’s ranked 26th in the NHL. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked 23rd overall and it’s successfully defended 78.6 percent of all opponent power plays.

Buffalo’s skaters have been penalized 3.6 times per game in total this season, 3.8 per game over their past five contests total, and 3.6 per game over their last five road outings. The team’s had to kill penalties just 8.1 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Robin Lehner (26.8 saves per game) has been the primary option in goal for Buffalo. Lehner owns a 13-35-8 record, while registering a .910 save percentage and 2.96 goals against average this year.

Leading the offensive attack for the visiting Sabres will be Jack Eichel (22 goals, 31 assists) and Ryan O’Reilly (19 goals, 30 assists).

Buffalo Sabres vs. Ottawa Senators Betting Picks

NHL Prediction: SU Winner – Senators, O/U – Under

Betting Notes

  • 34.8 percent of Ottawa’s wins have come by two or more goals (the team is 8-21 overall in such games) while 57.1 percent of Buffalo’s wins have come by two goals or more (12-25 overall in such games).
  • Penalties and power plays may have a key role in this game. The Sabres are 7-18 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 17-32 in games where they serve fewer than 10 total penalty minutes. The Senators are 9-20 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than the opposition and 16-27 when their penalty minutes are in the single digits.
  • Ottawa (2-6 in shootouts this season) has significantly more experience in games decided by shootout. Buffalo fell short in its one shootout this season.
  • The under has hit in three of Ottawa’s last five outings.
  • Ottawa is ranked 17th this season with 9.7 giveaways per game. That figure has improved recently, however, as it’s averaged 8.1 giveaways over its last 10 games and 7.4 giveaways over its last five.
  • Buffalo skaters have averaged 7.4 giveaways over its last five home games, its season average of 7.0 giveaways per game (ranked sixth in the NHL).
  • The Senators this season have registered the eighth-most hits in the league (23.9 per game).