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St. Louis Blues vs. Buffalo Sabres
NHL: Tuesday, December 10, KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York, 7:30 PM ET
After two straight losses to Pittsburgh 3-0 on the road and Toronto 5-2 at home, the St. Louis Blues hit the road to meet the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night. The Sabres have just finished a three-game road trip, losing at Calgary 4-3 and Vancouver 6-5 in overtime before a 3-2 overtime victory over Edmonton.
These two interconference foes will square off for the first time this season. The Blues have dominated the Sabres this decade, winning 12 of their last 14 encounters and 10 of the previous 13 in Buffalo. However, the Sabres have beaten the Blues in two of their previous three meetings at KeyBank Center and hope for another victory over the reigning champions.
The Blues’ D fell apart against the Maple LeafsJordan Binnington had a tough night against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, allowing four first-period goals in less than 13 minutes on the ice. Jake Allen took over and had 15 saves, but the Maple Leafs scored their fifth goal midway the second period to secure the victory. The Blues took 28 shots and had 15 hits more than their opponents but couldn’t make a comeback. It was their second loss in the last three games at home and fourth in the previous eight contests overall.
After a terrible performance against Toronto, Jordan Binnington is 13-6-4 on the season and has a 2.45 GAA and a .921 save percentage. He was a big part of the Blues’ success last season, and Binnington should guard the cage against the Sabres even though he lost four of the last six starts. The Blues are 5th in the league in goals against (2.58) and 11th in penalty killing (83.1%).
Five different players have produced 21 or more points so far including David Perron who leads the way with 12 goals and 17 assists. Ryan O’Reilly is the best assist-maker with 21 dishes, while Brayed Schenn has scored 14 goals along with 11 assists. Interestingly, neither of these three guys has a positive +/- rating. The Blues are 16th in the league in goals per game (2.97) and 7th in power-play conversion (22.7%).
The Sabres battled bravely on the west coastBuffalo has returned from a tough journey on the west coast. After a couple of narrow losses in Calgary and Vancouver, the Sabres outlasted the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in overtime to record their fourth win in the last nine games overall. They won the first period 2-0, but the Sabres allowed a couple of goals in the second period. Colin Miller scored his first goal of the season in overtime to lift his team over the Oilers, while Linus Ullmark finished the game with 26 stops and a .929 save percentage.
Ullmark has an 8-6-2 record this season, tallying a 2.88 GAA and a .914 save percentage. Carter Hutton should guard the cage against the Blues, and he’s 6-5-4 on the season with a 3.05 GAA and a .901 save percentage. Hutton has recorded a pair of shutouts thus far. The Sabres are 18th in the league in goals against (3.03) and 30th in penalty killing (73.4%).
Buffalo has some serious problems with the man advantage. The Sabres’ power-play percentage is 20th in the league (17.8%), and they had 101 power-play opportunities which are the eighth-most in the league. Jack Eichel leads the way for the Sabres with 18 goals and 24 assists, and he handed out six dishes over his previous five outings. Victor Olofsson scored 14 goals along with 12 assists, while Sam Reinhart added 11 goals and 12 dishes. The Sabres are 14th in the league in goals per game (3.06).
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Oddsshark.com, are: St. Louis:
- 16-4 in the last 20 games against Buffalo
- 8-3 in the last 11 games on the road
- 5-14 in the last 19 games overall
- 3-10 in the last 13 home games against St. Louis
- 3-7 in the last ten home games against the Western Conference
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Blues have been playing in a shaky form lately, but they’ve won eight of the last 11 games on the road. The Sabres have been terrible over the last few weeks, and they’ve lost six of the previous nine contests at home. After two straight losses, the reigning champs will be keen to bounce back. Jordan Binnington should be at a much higher level following a dud last time out. The Blues are a well-balanced team, so I’m backing them to beat the Sabres on the road. Buffalo’s defense is a problem, while its offense is pretty unpredictable. The Sabres scored 13 goals in their last two outings at home, but the Blues’ defense will be a tall task.
Prediction: St. Louis Blues (-138)
Full-Game Total Pick
The Sabres had some wild games in the last two weeks, and the over is 4-2 in their previous six outings. I’ve mentioned that Buffalo’s offense is unpredictable, while its defense is mostly poor. The Sabres have a talented frontline, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they score two or three goals against the Blues’ stout defense. On the other side, I expect the Blues to grab a win and take advantage of the Sabres’ defense. Therefore, I expect to see six goals in this game even though the under is 5-1-3 in the previous nine encounters between St. Louis and Buffalo.
Prediction: Over 5.5 goals (-113)