Featured Video from Scott Reichel
Bolts Overcome Carolina
A second straight win was on the cards for the Tampa Bay Lightning (34-8-2), who recorded their ninth victory in the past 10 games (9-1-0) following a 3-1 triumph over the Carolina Hurricanes at Amalie Arena on Thursday. Third-period power-play snipes by Ondrej Palat (5 goals, 16 points this year) and Brayden Point (28 goals, 60 points), who also scored an empty-netter with 26 seconds remaining, helped the Bolts to their 17th win in the last 19 contests (17-1-1). They are still leading the Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference and the whole of NHL, having collected 70 points from 44 games.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) January 11, 2019
Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy turned away 26 shots, taking his current performance total to 18-4-2 for the season with a 2.49 GAA and a .925 save percentage. He has recorded a 7-1-1 previous tally against the Buffalo Sabres with a 1.66 GAA and a .941 save percentage. The Lightning, meanwhile, are netting the absolute highest bulk of goals per game so far this year (4.09), while conceding the 12th lowest amount on the defensive end (2.84). They are top of the league in power play with a 30.0% conversion rate and 8th in penalty kill with 83.1% proficiency.
Sabres Lose In Raleigh
A back-to-back set started with a defeat for the Buffalo Sabres (23-15-6), who lost for the fifth time in their past seven fixtures (2-4-1) after being edged with a score of 4-3 by the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena yesterday. Jeff Skinner (30 goals, 43 points this year), Jason Pominville (10 goals, 19 points) and Kyle Okposo (7 goals, 18 points) all got off the mark, as the Sabres have now gone 3-6-1 in their last 10 contests after notching a four-game point streak prior (3-0-1). The team is 4th in the Atlantic Division with 52 points from 44 matchups, currently holding the 2nd Wild Card of the Eastern Conference.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) January 12, 2019
Goalie Carter Hutton made 26 saves in North Carolina, taking his tally for the season to 14-13-3 with a 2.62 GAA and a .916 save percentage. Back-up Linus Ullmark, though, is expected to patrol the crease versus Tampa Bay, despite having gone 0-2-0 against the Lightning historically with a 4.57 GAA and a .872 save percentage. He is 9-2-3 for the ongoing campaign with a 2.69 GAA and a .924 save percentage. The Sabres, meanwhile, are scoring the 12th lowest number of goals per game (2.84), while allowing the 9th lowest quantity defensively (2.82). They are 18th in power play (18.6%) and 3rd best in penalty kill (84.4%).
- Sabres are 1-4 in their last 5 Saturday games.
- Sabres are 3-11 in their last 14 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Lightning are 5-1 in their last 6 Saturday games.
- Lightning are 14-4 in their last 18 overall meetings with Sabres.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Sabres have gathered some pretty impressive results on own ice lately, winning 11 of their last 16 home outings. They have, however, had a torrid time when dealing with second contests of their back-to-backs, posting 81 defeats on the last 114 occasions. So, this is an excellent opportunity for the Lightning to start their newest road trip on a high. The Bolts hold the best road record in the league at the moment (15-4-2) and have already beaten the Sabres in 14 of their last 18 encounters, notching six victories in their previous eight meetings in Buffalo.
Prediction: Tampa Bay Lightning
Full-Game Total Pick
Only three of the past 19 meetings between Tampa Bay and Buffalo have gone past the six-goal mark. So, don’t expect an excessively high-scoring matchup in this one. Five of the last seven contests of the Sabres, played with no rest, have already finished under the total, while three of the very last five fixtures of the Bolts have not witnessed more than four snipes netted in total.
Prediction: Under 6.5