Avs Fall At Columbus
The first defeat of the season was finally on the cards for the Colorado Avalanche (2-1-0), who dropped a 5-2 decision against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday. The Avs scored twice in the second frame to cancel out both first-period snipes by the hosts, with Nathan MacKinnon (3 goals, 4 points this year) burying a wrister three-and-a-half minutes into the middle session, and Carl Soderberg (2 goals, 4 points) netting six minutes later during power play for his 200th NHL career point. The final period, though, belonged to Columbus, who found the back of the net on three more occasions, including into an empty net with two minutes remaining.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) October 11, 2018
Goalie Philipp Grubauer, who joined Colorado from the Washington Capitals over the summer, made his Avalanche debut with a 30-save performance, posting a save rate of 88.2%. Semyon Varlamov (2-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA and a .948 save percentage so far this season), though, is expected back in the crease for the trip to Buffalo, having gone 6-2-1 against the Sabres previously with a 2.46 GAA and a .916 save percentage. The Avalanche have started the new season, scoring the 10th highest number of goals per game (3.67), while allowing the 13th lowest quantity defensively (2.67). They are 10th in power play with a 27.3% success rate (3-for-11) and 7th in penalty kill with 91.7% proficiency (11-for-12).
Sabres Impress Against Vegas
The Buffalo Sabres (2-1-0) won for the second consecutive time after beating the Vegas Golden Knights with a count of 4-2 at KeyBank Center on Monday, thus registering a winning record for the first time since January 2013. Jack Eichel (3 goals, 4 points this year), who was named the new captain of the team for the current season, netted the first two goals of the game, burying a one-timer during power play in the first period before scoring a back-hander at the start of the second. Marco Scandella (1 goal, 1 point) lit the lamp half a minute after Vegas got a goal back, while Jason Pominville (1 goal, 1 point) made it 4-1 midway through the second frame before the Golden Knights got their second strike in the following period. Kyle Okposo notched a couple of assists for his first two points of the season.
As the #Sabres focus on the details at practice, it’s translating to games.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) October 10, 2018
Goalie Carter Hutton stopped 35 shots with a save rate of 94.6% and has now gone 2-1-0 for the rolling year with a 2.06 GAA and a .943 save percentage. He has picked up a 5-1-0 career tally versus Colorado with a 2.24 GAA and a .925 save percentage, while Eichel has collected two snipes and four assists in five previous appearances against the Avalanche. The Sabres are currently scoring the 8th lowest amount of goals in 2018-19 (2.33), while giving up the 8th lowest quantity on the defensive end (2.33). They are 6th in power play with a 37.5% conversion rate (3-for-8) and 9th in penalty kill with 83.3% efficiency (5-for-6).
- Sabres are 8-3 in their last 11 vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Avalanche are 17-52 in their last 69 road games.
- Avalanche are 2-6 in their last 8 Thursday games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Sabres have truly impressed so far this season, with their new goalie Carter Hutton delivering solid protection at the back, so don’t be surprised to see Buffalo go on a shocking three-game winning run here. The Avalanche have normally done pretty well against the Sabres, winning 12 of their past 15 meetings, but have not been able to stamp their authority away from home lately, notching 52 defeats on their past 69 travels. Buffalo has been something of a giant killer lately, collecting eight triumphs in its past 11 fixtures versus sides with a winning percentage above the .600 mark, so it does look promising for the hosts here…
Prediction: Buffalo Sabres
Full-Game Total Pick
Although historically this series has been quite high-scoring, with goals going over the total in 10 of the past 13 occasions, the addition of Carter Hutton is a game-changer for the Sabres, who have finally gotten a goalie with an ability to keep pucks out of the net. The Avs have also gone under the total in seven of their past nine contests played after a defeat of three or more goals, so expect this one to stay withing five markers.
Prediction: Under 6
Half-Time Side Pick
The Sabres have not taken the lead after the initial 20 minutes against Colorado for four straight games. They are, however, looking pretty good lately and have already scored a goal in the first period in each of their last two outings…
Prediction: Buffalo Sabres
Half-Time Total Bet
The first period in the last two Buffalo games finished with a 1-0 Sabres lead, and that is quite a good bet for this fixture as well. Carter Hutton has been excellent in the crease for the hosts so far and should keep the Avs at bay…
Prediction: Under 1.5