Tuesday evening pucks and a pair of teams from the Atlantic Division will square off as the Tampa Bay Lightning rumble with the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. The Lightning have a game on Monday night in Toronto, so they will be playing this one on no rest, while the Sabres are off a 5-4 home loss to the Avalanche. Goalie Probables: Louis Domingue will get the call for the Lightning in this one and he will be opposed by Robin Lehner.
The Bolts Are Trying To Hang On To First In The Atlantic
The Tampa Bay Lightning have been in first for a long time this year and they have won seven of their last nine games but they are really starting to feel so heat from the Boston Bruins and even the Toronto Maple Leafs have been playing far better of late. Right now, this is a two-team race as they hold just a three points lead over the Bruins, while holding an eight-point lead over the Leafs, but Toronto faces the Bolts at home on Monday night, so they have a good shot at closing the gap some. The Bolts are just trying to hang on to the top spot in the Atlantic Division at the moment and a win in this one over the lowly Sabres will help, but they have to be careful as Buffalo did recent win in Boston and the Bruins were -325 favorites in that game. Leading the Bolts in scoring this year has been Nikita Kucherov, who has 29 goals on the year and he also leads them in points with 69. The Bolts have gone 19-11 on the road and have averaged 3.47 gpg and have allowed 2.50 gpg in those games.
Andrei Vasilevskiy is slated to get the start for the Lightning in Toronto On Monday night, so for this one, it will be Louis Domingue and he has gone 2-7 with a 3.88 GAA and a .877 save percentage on the year, including 2-4 with a 3.63 GAA and a .886 save percentage on the road. In his career, he has gone 12-27 with a 3.43 GAA on the road and 7-10 with a 2.76 GAA against the Atlantic Division, while against the Sabres he has gone 1-1 with a 2.03 GAA.
Tampa Bay comes in ranked 1st in the league in scoring at 3.56 gpg, while also ranking 12th in shots taken (32.3 spg) and 2nd in power play conversions, converting on 24.1% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been very solid so far as they come in ranked 5th in goals allowed, giving up just 2.60 gpg, while also ranking 23rd in shots allowed (32.5 spg) and 23rd in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 21.4% of their chances.
Sabres To Be Without Eichel For Four To Six Weeks
The Buffalo Sabres have had one winning streak of three games all year and they were trying to make it two, but on Sunday, they lost to the Colorado Avalanche at home by a score of 5-4. That was on the heels of a home win against the Islanders, which they followed up with a stunning road win over the Bruins, in a game that they were +285 dogs in. The Sabres have the 2nd fewest points in the league, but they have been playing better overall of late as they have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games. They had a total of 11 wins prior to this little run. Jack Eichel did not play in the loss to the Avs as the Sabres found out prior to the game that they will be without their star for four to six weeks. He is the team’s leading scorer with 22 goals. That will hurt the league’s worst offense. Scoring in the loss to the Avs was Benoit Pouliot, which was his 11th of the year, Casey Nelson, which was the first of his career, Ryan O’Reilly, which was his 17th of the year and Evander Kane, which was his 18th. The Sabres have gone just 7-120 here at home for the year and they have averaged 2.15 gpg and have allowed 3.26 gpg in those games.
Taking the loss against the Avs was Robin Lehner, who allowed five goals on 27 shot attempts to fall to 12-28 with a 2.90 GAA and a .910 save percentage on the year, including 6-14 with a 2.55 GAA and a .919 save percentage here at home. In his career, he has gone 36-63 with a 2.78 GAA on the road and 26-43 with a 2.63 GAA against the Atlantic Division, while against the Lightning he has gone 3-7 with a 3.06 GAA.
Buffalo has been very poor on offense so far as they come in ranked 31st in the league in scoring at 2.30 gpg, while also ranking 22nd in shots taken (30.7 spg) and 23rd in power play conversions, converting on 17.0% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been poor as they come in ranked 28th in goals allowed, giving up 3.28 gpg, while also ranking 24th in shots allowed (32.6 spg) and 24th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 22.0% of their chances.
Tampa Bay is:
- None Available
- None Available
Believe it or not, this is a tough one as both teams have negatives heading into this game. The Sabres have been the 2nd worst team in the league this year and they will now be without their top scorer for six to eight weeks, while the Bolts are coming off a huge battle against the Maple Leafs and they will be playing on no rest, plus they will have Domingue in the crease instead of Vasilevskiy. The Sabres have been playing a bit better of late as they have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games and they did just score four goals against the Avs without Jack Eichel in the lineup. Louis Domingue has been horrible as a backup as he is 2-7 with a 3.88 GAA on the year, including 2-4 with a 3.63 GAA on the road. I really feel that the Bolts are in a bad spot here and that will allow the Sabres to pick up the upset win in this one.