A four-game losing streak takes the New Jersey Devils (7th in East Division) to the second outing of their home-and-home series against the Buffalo Sabres (8th in the East), who return to home ice on the back of a five-game point run.
Devils Extend Losing SkidThe New Jersey Devils (13-18-6) dropped their fourth consecutive decision (0-2-2) after starting their current home-and-home set against the Buffalo Sabres with a 5-3 defeat at Prudential Center on Tuesday. The Devils outshot the visitors 30-18, went 1-for-3 on the power play and killed one of their two penalties, eventually giving up 1-0 and 3-2 leads to record their fourth straight loss on their own ice (0-3-1). Damon Severson (3 goals, 13 points this year), Jesper Bratt (5 goals, 21 points) and Pavel Zacha (8 goals, 22 points) all scored for New Jersey, which is 3-3-1 against the Sabres this season.
Goalie Scott Wedgewood stopped 13 shots on Tuesday and has now gone 3-6-3 for the current campaign with a 2.82 GAA and a .907 save percentage. He has picked up a 0-1-1 past total versus Buffalo with a 3.37 GAA and a .854 save percentage, while Mackenzie Blackwood (9-10-3 on the season with a 2.92 GAA and a .909 save percentage) is 2-3-0 against the Sabres historically with a 3.56 GAA and a .892 save percentage. The Devils are 6th in least goals scored per game this year (2.46), 10th in most goals allowed on average (3.08), 4th worst in power play (13.0%) and bottom of the league in penalty kill (72.6%).
Sabres Expand Point RunThe current point streak of the Buffalo Sabres (9-23-6) extended to five fixtures (3-0-2) after the team banked a 5-3 win against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Tuesday. Rasmus Dahlin (3 goals, 15 points this year) tied the game at 3-3 at the end of the second period after the hosts took a 3-2 lead moment earlier, with Casey Mittelstadt (4 goals, 10 points) banking the win during power play midway through the final third before Rasmus Ristolainen (4 goals, 11 points) rounded things off with an empty-netter one-and-a-half minutes from time. Rasmus Asplund (4 goals, 4 points) and Brandon Montour (5 goals, 13 points) also scored for Buffalo, which is 3-0-1 since ending the longest losing streak of the shootout era (0-15-3).
Goalie Linus Ullmark made 27 saves on Tuesday to take his current performance record to 8-5-3 for the ongoing campaign with a 2.48 GAA and a .919 save percentage. He has registered a 5-3-0 career tally against New Jersey with a 2.17 GAA and a .931 save percentage. The Sabres, meanwhile, are scoring the 2nd lowest quantity of goals per game this season (2.21), while conceding the 3rd highest amount on the defensive end (3.39). The team ranks 12th in power play with a 22.6% success rate and 16th in penalty kill with 79.2% efficiency.
New Jersey (according to Covers.com)
- Road team is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings between Devils and Sabres.
Buffalo (according to Covers.com)
- Sabres are 1-5 in their last 6 when their opponent allows 5 goals or more in their previous game.
- Sabres are 5-16 in their last 21 home games.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The hard work Buffalo has been putting in during the last few weeks is finally starting to pay off, as the team has gone 3-0-1 in its last four outings since ending the longest losing run in the shootout era (0-15-3), dating back to 2005-06. The Sabres are 3-0-2 in their last five contests overall and look a resurrected side, with the players finally enjoying their hockey. The Devils, on the other hand, are going in the opposite direction, presently murked into a four-game losing run, with only one victory to savor in their last seven games. Despite leading in shots (30-18) and taking 1-0 and 3-2 leads against Buffalo in the first half of their previous encounter on Tuesday, New Jersey failed to end the game in its advantage. Still, the Devils have done pretty well when visiting the Sabres this season (2-0-1) and have been quite productive on the road overall lately, splitting their last six travels, notching victories in such difficult destinations as Pittsburgh and Boston.
Full-Game Total Pick
The very last six meetings between the Sabres and the Devils in Buffalo have all gone past the five-goal barrier, averaging no less than 7.33 strikes per fixture. So, banking on another high-scoring game here is definitely the best of options! When skating on a single day’s rest, New Jersey has already cruised over the total on five of the last six occasions, delivering plenty of goals in four of its previous five Thursday contests as well. Three of the most recent five matchups of the Sabres following a win, meanwhile, have all witnessed plenty of markers, posting an average of 7.67 tallies per clash.