Saturday afternoon NHL action and the Atlantic Division will square off with the Pacific Division as the Buffalo Sabres grapple with the Los Angeles Kings at the Staple Center in Los Angeles, California. The Sabres are off a 5-1 loss to the Sharks on the road, while the Kings are off a 7-2 home loss to the Islanders. The Kings took both games last year by identical 4-2 scores.
Sabres Fall Prey To The Sharks
The Buffalo Sabres have shown some improvements in the early going of the year, but they are still a long way from contending for a playoff spot. Buffalo began the season at 2-1, and they scored seven goals in those games, but have since gone 1-3 and have scored a total of six goals in those games. The offense was horrible last year, and it has followed them to this year as they have averaged a mere 1.86 gpg so far, which is 30th in the league. Buffalo is also 28th in shots per game (26.3) and 24th in power play conversions (13.8%). They are off a 5-1 loss to the Sharks and scoring their lone goal was Jake McCabe, which was his 1st of the year.
The shot from @rasmusdahlin00 got this play going.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) October 19, 2018
At the defensive end of the ice, they have not been great as they check in ranked 16th in the league in goals allowed, giving up 3.14 gpg, while also ranking 26th in the league in shots allowed at 34.4 spg and 27th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 30.4% of their chances. Carter Hutton allowed four goals on 38 shot attempts to absorb the loss against the Sharks. He is now 2-4 with a 3.27 GAA and a .906 save percentage on the year, including 0-2 with a 3.68 GAA and a .894 save percentage on the road. In his career, he has gone 35-39 with a 2.50 GAA and a .921 save percentage on the road, and 1-1 with a 3.56 GAA and a .889 save percentage against the Kings.
Where Is The Offense?
The Los Angeles Kings have struggled out the gate as they are now 2-5 on the year after getting blasted at home by the Rangers on Thursday night by a score of 7-2. The fact that they allowed seven goals on their home is disturbing, but so is the fact that they scored just the two goals on a team that was last in the league in goals allowed in the previous year. Where is the offense for the Kings? LA has now totaled eight goals over their last five games, and that has contributed to the Kings ranking 28th in the league in scoring, putting up 2.00 gpg. The power play has been an issue as well as they check in at 29th in conversions at 8.0%. The Kings need to find their offense, or it will be a long season for them.
Hear what Head Coach John Stevens had to say after tonight's game against the New York Islanders. pic.twitter.com/wT4NWecoGI
— LA Kings (@LAKings) October 19, 2018
Scoring in the loss to the Isles was Tyler Toffoli, which was his 2nd of the year and Jeff Carter, which was his 2nd of the year. Jonathan Quick had a bad outing as he allowed six goals on 29 shot attempts before being removed in favor of Jack Campbell, who allowed the final goal on three shot attempts. Quick is now 0-2 with a 4.82 GAA and a .855 save percentage on the year. In his career, he has gone 161-129 with a 2.15 GAA and a .916 save percentage in his home games, and 7-1 with a 1.38 GAA and a .941 save percentage against the Sabres. At the defensive end of the ice, the Kings are 22nd in goals allowed a 3.29 gpg and 26th in penalty kill at 70.0%.
Los Angeles is:
- 16-6 in their last 22 vs. the Atlantic.
- 10-4 in their last 14 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400
- 20-42 in their last 62 when their opponent allows 5 goals or more in their previous game
- 4-11 in their last 15 vs. the Western Conference
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Sabres have shown some improvements this year, but I do not see them hanging tough in this one. The Sabres just lost by four goals at San Jose, and I look for them to lose by at least two in this one. They don’t have the offense to keep up in this one, especially against a Los Angeles team that has to be angry after getting blown out at home by the Islanders. We also note that Quick has gone 7-1 with a 1.38 GAA in his career against the Sabres. Look for the Kings to get back on track with a nice win in this one.
Prediction: LA Kings -1.5
Full-Game Total Pick
This one screams Under the total. I expect the Kings to get just enough to win this one by two, but the Sabres will get very little in this one. They have averaged only 1.86 gpg on the year, and Quick has a 1.38 GAA in his career against them. The Kings have struggled to score as well of late and will not get more than three goals in this one. 3-1 LA sounds about right. The Under is 16-5-8 in Los Angeles’ last 29 following a home loss of three or more goals.
Half-Time Side Pick
We May not even see scoring at all in the first of this one, but if anyone scores it will be the Kings. They are off a horrible loss at home to the Islanders and will be looking to get off to a nice start. Take the Kings in the first period of this one.
Prediction: Los Angeles -156 (First Period)
Half-Time Total Bet
This should be a low-scoring game throughout. The Kings have struggled to score so far, while the Sabres have averaged just 1.86 gpg in the early going of the season. Both teams will be hard pressed to score in the first, but still, I will call for the Kings to head to the second leading 1-0.
Prediction: Under 1.5 (First Period)