The Tampa Bay Lightning are in snowy Buffalo to take on the Sabres in a Saturday matinee. The Sabres (20-21-4) are looking to build on two straight 3-0 victories. The Lightning (23-17-5) are clutching to a wild card spot amidst a four-game winning streak.
It’s a prove-it game for the Sabres and their red hot goaltender, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. The two shutouts came against the two bottom-feeders of the league based on the NHL standings. With superstars like Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay poses as a much bigger scoring threat.
How to Watch
Gametime: 12:30 p.m. ET
Location: KeyBank Center (Buffalo, NY)
TV: MSG (Buffalo); BSSUN (Tampa)
Stream: MSG+; ESPN+ (Out-of-market)
January has been kind to the Sabres with the team recording five wins in seven games. Besides Luukkonen’s emergence, Buffalo is starting to get contributions throughout their lineup despite injuries shuffling the lineup constantly.
It looks like Jeff Skinner and Mattias Samuelsson are both ready to return from upper body injuries, which should help boost the top of their lineup. Dylan Cozens did not practice yesterday and remains day-to-day. Erik Johnson also is day-to-day with soreness from a scary-looking boarding hit sustained on Thursday.
Despite Skinner returning, Zach Benson is expected to remain on the Sabres top line with Tage Thompson and Alex Tuch. Benson shined in the role against the Chicago Blackhawks, with his strong forechecking ability leading to a slew of takeaways and sustained zone pressure.
The Lightning are riding high on a four-game winning streak. They reunited the Steven Stamkos – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov line during the run, winning on the backs of what is one of the league’s most talented trios.
Tampa Bay has been no stranger to coasting to the playoffs, but this season is proving to be more of a struggle for them than in recent history. Their goal-differential is a meager +1, with the team desperate for offensive contributions from their bottom-six.
The Lightning have also been bit by the injury bug on defense. It’s expected that Mikhail Sergachev, Erik Cernak, and Hayden Fleury will all miss Saturday’s contest. Sergachev and Cernak are two of the team’s top defenders, leaving them digging into the pipeline for answers.
- Dylan Cozens (Upper Body) Day-to-Day
- Mattias Samuelsson (Upper Body) Day-to-Day
- Jeff Skinner (Upper Body) Day-to-Day
- Erik Johnson (Upper Body) Day-to-Day
- Henri Jokiharju (Undisclosed) Day-to-Day
- Erik Cernak (Upper Body) Day-to-Day
- Tanner Jeannot (Lower Body) Out [IR]
- Logan Brown (Undisclosed) Out [IR]
- Mikhail Sergachev (Lower Body) Out [IR]
- Haydn Fleury (Hand) Out [IR]
Zach Benson – Tage Thompson – Alex Tuch
Jeff Skinner – Casey Mittelstadt – JJ Peterka
Zemgus Girgensons – Jordan Greenway – Jack Quinn
Victor Olofsson – Peyton Krebs – Kyle Okposo
Rasmus Dahlin – Mattias Samuelsson
Owen Power – Ryan Johnson
Jacob Bryson – Connor Clifton
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (Confirmed)
Lineup Source: PuckLuck Projected
Goalie Source: Lance Lysowski, The Buffalo News
Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov
Nick Paul – Anthony Cirelli – Brandon Hagel
Alex Barre-Boulet – Tyler Motte – Conor Sheary
Austin Watson – Luke Glendening – Michael Eyssimont
Victor Hedman – Darren Raddysh
Calvin de Haan – Max Crozier
Emil Lilleberg – Nick Perbix
Andrei Vasilevskiy (Projected)
Lineup Source: PuckLuck Projected
Goalie Source: PuckLuck Projected
Betting Odds Breakdown
Unlike the past few Sabres games, there’s not a ton of betting edge on this one. The Lightning are about 57% favorites according to PuckLuck, and about 55% consensus favorites on the sportsbooks. A 2% edge isn’t really enough to bet with confidence, given room for standard error and lineup uncertainty.
6.19 projected goals in the game also hints at the under, but with the under odds around -120 that also doesn’t like much in terms of edge.
To be honest, you’re better off using PuckLuck’s player prop projections to find the best props to bet on your preferred sportsbook.
For more betting analysis across the NHL, be sure to head over to PuckLuck.com.
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