Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#1 Buffalo Sabres -125 vs.
#2 N.Y. Rangers 6.5
Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 7:05pm EDT
Madison Square Garden, New York
Written by Chris Kubala

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A pair of Eastern Conference teams heading in opposite directions take the ice in the Big Apple. The Buffalo Sabres are on the road as they make the trip to face the New York Rangers Thursday night. Buffalo comes in off a 4-3 overtime win at home over San Jose in their last game Tuesday night. New York was edged 3-2 in overtime at home by Arizona in their previous contest Tuesday night. The Rangers took two of the three meetings between the teams last season, including a 6-2 road win in the most recent matchup on February 15, 2019.

Buffalo Sabres Try to Stay Hot

Buffalo won their third straight game as they took down the Sharks at home in overtime to cap a sweep of the home and home set. The Sabres look to maintain their early momentum here and avoid the cratering that took place after last season’s hot start. Buffalo is fourth in the league in goals for as they average 3.70 goals per game so far this season. The Sabres are 6th in the league in goals-against as they allow 2.40 goals per contest this year. Buffalo’s power play has been clicking in the early going as the team is fourth in the league by cashing in 30.8 percent of their chances with the man advantage. The Sabres are just 20th in penalty killing as they successfully navigate 76.7 percent of their shorthanded situations thus far.

The Sabres got off to a slow start but rallied as the game wore on before prevailing in overtime. Buffalo owned a 14-10 edge in shots in the opening period but trailed 2-0 after the first 20 minutes of action. The Sabres bounced back in the second period as they owned a 10-5 edge in shots and a 2-0 edge on the scoreboard to tie the game after 40 minutes. Jack Eichel halved the deficit by getting Buffalo on the board with his fifth of the year on the power play at 7:21 of the period: Rasmus Dahlin and Victor Olofsson assisted on the goal. Later in the period, Sam Reinhart tied the game with his fourth of the year at 19:29 off assists from Rasmus Ristolainen and Eichel. In the third period, the Sabres were outshot 13-4 and both teams scored once to send the game to overtime. Jeff Skinner gave Buffalo a 3-2 lead at the 45-second mark off assists from Eichel and Henri Jokiharju before San Jose tied the game later in the period. In the extra session, Buffalo had the lone shot on goal and it lit the lamp: Eichel’s second of the game and sixth of the year proved to be the winner at 3:54 of overtime off assists from Ristolainen and Casey Mittelstadt. Carter Hutton made 25 saves in the game for Buffalo, who owned a 29-28 edge in shots.

New York Rangers Hoping to Reverse Fortunes

New York started the season with two straight wins but the wheels have fallen off since that point in time. The Rangers have gone 0-4-1 in their last five games after falling Tuesday night in overtime against the Coyotes at home. New York is tied for 19th in the league with 2.71 goals per contest. The Rangers are 28th in goals against as they allow 3.57 goals per game. New York is 13th in the league in power-play percentage as they convert 20.8 percent of their chances with the man advantage. The Rangers are tied for 18th in penalty killing as they successfully navigate 77.4 percent of their shorthanded situations.

The Rangers continued to struggle of late as their offensive attack has dried up during this five-game skid. New York now looks to get back on track in this contest. The Rangers were blitzed from the outset as they were outshot 21-4 in the opening period: they were fortunate to trail just 1-0. In the second period, New York held a 12-8 advantage in shots and outscored Arizona 2-1 to tie the game after 40 minutes. Tony DeAngelo scored his second of the year at 5:04 off assists from Brendan Lemieux and Pavel Buchnevich to tie the game. After falling behind 2-1, New York knotted the game again on DeAngelo’s second of the game and third of the season, on the power play, at 18:00 off assists from Ryan Strome and Kaapo Kakko. In the third period, the Rangers were outshot 5-3 but neither team scored, sending the game to overtime. During overtime, New York was outshot 1-0 and gave up the winning goal in the extra session. Alexander Georgiev made 32 saves in the loss for the Rangers, who were outshot 35-19 in the game.

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New York has struggled mightily of late and their lack of offense is a major reason why. After scoring 10 goals in the opening two games of the season, the Rangers have tallied just nine times in their five-game skid and haven’t lit the lamp more than twice in any game during that stretch. Buffalo is on a roll and has a world of momentum. Eichel became just the third player in franchise history to record multiple four-point outings in the first 10 games of a season, joining Pat LaFontaine and Gilbert Perreault. Buffalo is clicking under Ralph Krueger right now and that momentum carries them here against a Rangers team that can’t get out of their own way.

Prediction: Buffalo Sabres -125

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Buffalo has been rejuvenated under Krueger but there are still plenty of skeptics around the league, pointing to how the team led the league in points in late November before things started to unravel. The Sabres have put the puck in the net 15 times in their five road contests this season. New York's offense has been ice cold of late as they haven't scored more than two goals in any of their last five games. That puts a lot of pressure on the goaltending duo of Georgiev and Henrik Lundqvist: can the Rangers light the lamp a few times and make life easier?

The over is 4-0 in the Sabres' last four overall, 4-0 in their last four as a favorite of -110 to -150, 4-0 in their last four against the Metropolitan Division and 4-1 in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of less than .400. New York has seen the over go 6-2 in their last eight games on Thursday and 7-3 in their last 10 games as an underdog. Look for Buffalo to light the lamp early and often to help push this one over the number.

Prediction: Over 6.5

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Buffalo has been rock solid in the first 10 games of the season and they have been extremely effective at making life tough for opposing teams. There are some numbers that are a bit concerning about sustainable success: Buffalo has 22 5 on 5 goals, which is nine more than their expected total of 13 at this point in time. That 22 goal mark is three more than the Rangers have scored this season period: that's more than enough to give the Sabres the upper hand after 20 minutes of play.

Prediction: 1st Period Buffalo Sabres

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Buffalo has been effective at putting the puck in the net this season, which is something that the Rangers haven't been able to count on in the last five games. New York has only nine goals in five games during their losing skid and they struggle to get on the board early. The Rangers' goaltending has kept them in games: they were bombed 21-4 in shots by Arizona Tuesday night but gave up only one goal. It's hard to have faith in the Rangers' offense so this one ends up being 1-0 Buffalo or scoreless more than likely after the opening stanza.

Prediction: 1st Period Under 1.5
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.