NHL Hockey Betting: Winnipeg Jets at Buffalo Sabres

NHL Hockey Betting:  Winnipeg Jets at Buffalo Sabres&h=235&w=320&zc=1

The Winnipeg Jets have been playing reasonably well of late but in the Central Division that’s not enough. They’ll enter this game tied with the Nashville Predators for fourth place in hockey’s toughest division with both teams one point ahead of Dallas. That puts them four back of St. Louis, 11 back of second place Minnesota and 14 behind division leading Chicago. The Simple fact is that they’ve got to do better. Were the season to end today they’d be in a three way tie with Nashville and the Vancouver Canucks–and all three teams would have missed the playoffs by a single point.

Buffalo’s situation is a bit more dire. The Eastern Conference is really good this year and they’re neck and neck with the New York Islanders for the worst record in the East. They’ve got 37 points, the Islanders have 36 points. If the season ended today they’d be eight points out of a playoff spot and they might be running out of time. They’ve got a 3-4-3 record in their last ten games and have struggled to put points on the board. Buffalo currently ranks #28 in the NHL for goals per game (2.2). They’ve got a good power play–5th in the league at 22.6% but that’s negated by the league’s worst penalty kill. The did get some good news as center Ryan O’Reilly is back in the lineup after he had an appendectomy during the Christmas break.

Winnipeg will start Connor Hellebuyck in net for this game–he’s 15-12-1 on the season with a 2.70 goals against average and a 0.911 save percentage. Buffalo has yet to confirm their goaltender but it’ll most likely be Robin Lehner. Lehner is 8-12-5 on the year with a 2.51 goals against average and a 0.921 save percentage. Neither he nor Anders Nilson have been particularly good this season. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Sabres give 23 year old Linus Ullmark a shot in net–he’s currently in the AHL.

The Sabres do have one thing working for them–they’ve got home ice and a three game winning streak against the Jets. Buffalo won the only meeting so far this season (3-1 at Winnipeg on 10/30/16) and won both meetings last year. We’ll take a shot with the home team.


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