Buffalo Sabres vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Game Preview

Jose VasquezArticles, Hockey, NHL

In their third head-to-head meeting of the regular season, the Buffalo Sabres and the Tampa Bay Lightning clash at Amalie Arena for an Atlantic Division tilt. This one gets started at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, February 28 and it can be viewed live on TVA Sports.

Buffalo Sabres vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Odds

Tampa Bay is 43-20 straight up (SU) and has earned 12.3 units for moneyline bettors this season. That win percentage, ranked first in the league so far in this young season, is a solid improvement compared to how the team performed during last year’s regular season (42-40). Among its 63 games this season, 40 have gone over the total, while 22 have gone under and just one has pushed. This year, the team is 21-7 SU at home.

The Lightning have converted on 24.4 percent of their power play opportunities this year, a mark that places them in the top-5 among NHL teams. On the other hand, their penalty kill is ranked 25th overall, and they’ve successfully killed off 77.8 percent of all penalties.

As a collective unit, the Lightning have been penalized 4.0 times per game overall this season, and 3.4 per game over their last five home outings. The team has had to kill penalties for just 8.3 minutes per game over their last 10 matchups, in total.

Averaging 29.3 saves per game with a .927 save percentage, Andrei Vasilevskiy (37-15-2) has been the primary goalkeeper for the Bolts this season. If the Bolts decide to give him a breather, however, the team might go with Louis Domingue (3-10-10 record, .881 save percentage, 3.82 goals against average).

The Bolts will continue looking for leadership via Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. Kucherov (82 points) has tallied 33 goals and 49 assists and has recorded multiple points in 27 different games this year. Stamkos has 24 goals and 47 assists to his credit and has notched a point in 43 games.

Buffalo is 19-44 straight up (SU) and has lost 18.0 units for bettors taking the moneyline this year. Through 63 regular season outings, 31 of its games have gone under the total, while 28 have gone over and just four have pushed. As a road team, the Sabres are 10-22 SU.

The Sabres have converted on just 17.3 percent of their power play opportunities this season, a figure that places them in the bottom-10 overall among NHL teams. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked 20th overall and it’s successfully defended 79.3 percent of all penalties.

Buffalo’s players have been penalized 3.6 times per game this season, and 2.4 per game over their last five contests. The team’s had to defend opponent power plays just 7.0 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Robin Lehner (2.95 goals against average and .910 save percentage) has been the primary option in goal for Buffalo. Lehner is averaging 27.0 saves per game and owns a 13-33-8 record.

Leading the offensive attack for the visiting Sabres will be Jack Eichel (22 goals, 31 assists) and Ryan O’Reilly (18 goals, 27 assists).

Buffalo Sabres at Tampa Bay Lightning Free Picks

Prediction: SU Winner – Lightning, O/U – Over

Betting Notes

  • Four of Tampa Bay’s last ten contests have been decided by two or more goals, and the team is 3-1 overall in those games.
  • Power plays and penalty kills could prove to be key in the outcome of this matchup. The Sabres are 6-16 in games where they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 15-31 when they serve fewer than 10 total penalty minutes. The Lightning are 23-11 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than the opposition and 25-12 when total penalty minutes are in the single digits.
  • Two of Tampa Bay’s last ten games have ended in a shootout. The team is 2-0 in those games and 4-2 overall in shootouts this season.
  • Tampa Bay may hold an advantage if this one comes down to the wire. The team’s 17-8 in games decided by one goal, while Buffalo is 8-21 in such games.
  • The over has hit in four of Tampa Bay’s last five outings.
  • Tampa Bay is putting up 3.6 goals per game over its four-game winning streak.
  • Tampa Bay has averaged 7.8 giveaways over its last five home games, its season average of 8.4 giveaways per game (ranked 10th).
  • Buffalo has averaged 6.4 giveaways over its last five home games, its season average of 7.0 giveaways per game (ranked fifth in the NHL).
  • Buffalo skaters have dished out the 11th-most hits in the league (22.2 per game).