Buffalo Sabres (3-7-2 SU, 5-7 PL, 7-4-1 O/U) vs. Arizona Coyotes (1-11-1 SU, 4-9 PL, 10-2-1 O/U)
NHL: Thursday, November 2, 2017 at 10:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Buffalo Sabres -117/Arizona Coyotes -105. Total: 6.
The Arizona Coyotes are off to a horrendous 1-11-1 start heading into a home date with the Buffalo Sabres at Gila River Arena on Thursday night. Arizona finally found the win column with a defeat of Philadelphia on Monday, but they promptly returned to their losing ways on Tuesday–this time at the hands of Detroit. The Sabres are coming off consecutive setbacks against Columbus and San Jose.
Back in business
Buffalo has answered an 0-4-1 start to the season with a 3-3-1 stretch. Jason Pominville matched Evander Kane with his team-high (tied) sixth goal in a 3-2 loss to San Jose this past Saturday, while Kane had an assist to pull even with Pominville and Jack Eichel with a club-best 12 points. Kyle Okposo has weathered the storm after a disastrous start to the season, answering a minus-7 rating over a scoreless stretch of five games to notch two assists over his next five contests.
“I think we’ve got some chances, I just think we need to capitalize better on them, myself included,” Eichel said. “I’d like to see us be more consistent on a shift-to-shift basis of getting that sustained pressure in the offensive zone, continuing to successfully make our plays that we’re trying to make.”
“We can’t look ahead,” head coach Phil Housley explained. “We have to take little steps. First of all, we’ve got to win a game (on Thursday). That’s the first and foremost thing–beating an Arizona team that’s pretty desperate.”
Rookie of the Month
Victories have been few and far between for the Coyotes. Well, they have not exactly been few–they have been one. But there is at least some reason for optimism for the cellar-dwelling club. Well, sort of. Promising rookie Clayton Keller earned the NHL’s first Rookie of the Month honor after finishing October with a seven-game point streak (six goals, five assists). Keller, who was the seventh overall pick of the 2016 draft, collected a goal and an assist in a 5-3 loss to Detroit on Tuesday–increasing his rookie-leading totals in goals (nine) and points (15). The 19-year-old became the franchise’s first rookie to post nine goals in one calendar month since Teemu Selanne (20) in March of 1993, as well as 15 points in one month since the Selanne had 27 (20 goals, seven assists) and Keith Tkachuk (15, six goals, nine assists), also in March of 1993.
Arizona hasn’t given its fans much to cheer with an 0-4-1 mark at home, but perhaps goalie Antti Raanta could provide a spark if he’s ready to return from multiple lower-body injuries.
The Buffalo Sabres are:
- 4-1 Over in their last five road games
- 17-8-3 Over in their last 28 games against the Western Conference
- 12-4-5 in Over in their last 21 games playing on three or more days of rest
The Arizona Coyotes are:
- 9-1-1 Over in their last 11 overall
- 3-0-1 Over in their last four home games
- 8-0 Over in their last eight games against the Eastern Conference
Arizona’s instability in net and mental lapses at other positions have routinely led to opponents having their way, as the team has allowed a staggering 56 goals in 13 games. On the offensive end, Max Domi has a team-leading eight assists and is one point shy of 100 for his career. The over is 4-1 in the Sabres’ last five on the road, 17-8-3 in their last 28 against the Western Conference, and 12-4-5 in their last 21 playing on at least three days of rest. It is also 9-1-1 in the Coyotes’ last 11 overall, 3-0-1 in their last four at home, 8-0 in their last eight against the Eastern Conference, 6-0-1 in their last seven playing on one day of rest, and 5-1 in their last six against the Atlantic Division. Look for this one to go over the total.