It’s a matinee Saturday as the Buffalo Sabres (22-24-4) host the St. Louis Blues (26-21-2) on national television. The Sabres remain 10 points out of a playoff spot, leaving little room for error as they progress through an important February. The Blues are coming off their bye week, which they went into winning five of six games.
How to Watch
Gametime: 1:00 p.m. ET
Location: KeyBank Center (Buffalo, NY)
The red-hot Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was in the starter’s net at practice Friday and is the projected starter against the Blues. With top prospect Devon Levi still in Rochester developing, Luukkonen is the clear number-one goalie going forward.
The lines are expected to remain the same from Tuesday as well, based on the last two days of practice. This means Kyle Okposo remains in a role with ample opportunity besides Jeff Skinner and Tage Thompson. The Sabres’ captain also practiced on the team’s top powerplay unit, with Buffalo looking for a little more balanced attack with the man advantage.
The powerplay is also now featuring Jordan Greenway, who practiced in the bumper role with the second unit. Look for a little more even distribution of powerplay minutes across both groups.
One of only two goalies out-performing Luukkonen in the new year is Jordan Binnington. Binnington received starter’s reps yesterday, and if he goes will look to hold down the fort for the Blues. He’s currently riding an impressive 1.58 goals-saved expected per game per Evolving-Hockey in 2024.
As far as offense goes, the Blues’ attack is very much centered around their top line of Pavel Buchnevich, Robert Thomas, and Jordan Kyrou. The Sabres primarily used Jordan Greenway, Casey Mittelstadt, and Alex Tuch against the Stars’ most dangerous line on Tuesday, so it will be interesting to see if Don Granato and the coaching staff continue with that strategy.
- Jack Quinn (Lower Body) Out 5-7 Weeks
- Mattias Samuelsson (Upper Body) Out For Season
- Scott Perunovich (Lower Body) Out
- Justin Faulk (Lower Body) Out [IR]
- Mackenzie MacEachern (Shoulder) Out For Season
- Josh Jacobs (Undisclosed) Out
Jeff Skinner – Tage Thompson – Kyle Okposo
Zach Benson – Dylan Cozens – JJ Peterka
Jordan Greenway – Casey Mittelstadt – Alex Tuch
Zemgus Girgensons – Peyton Krebs – Eric Robinson
Rasmus Dahlin – Henri Jokiharju
Owen Power – Connor Clifton
Ryan Johnson – Erik Johnson
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (Projected)
St. Louis Blues
Pavel Buchnevich – Robert Thomas – Jordan Kyrou
Jake Neighbours – Brayden Schenn – Kasperi Kapanen
Brandon Saad – Kevin Hayes – Sammy Blais
Alexei Toropchenko – Oskar Sundqvist – Nathan Walker
Nick Leddy – Colton Parayko
Torey Krug – Matthew Kessel
Marco Scandella – Calle Rosen
Jordan Binnington (Projected)
Lineup Source: Matthew DeFranks, STL Post-Dispatch
Goalie Source: Matthew DeFranks, STL Post-Dispatch
Betting Odds Breakdown
Believe it or not, the Sabres are fairly large favorites at home against the Blues. The sportsbooks imply about a 59% chance of Buffalo winning, compared to PuckLuck’s 53%.
The edge today is clearly on St. Louis, although after taking into account standard error and likeliness of the bet hitting, the +1.5 goal puckline at -205 grades out stronger than the moneyline.
If you’re looking for a betting edge on the game total, it’s not there. With 6.06 projected goals in the game and most sportsbooks setting the total at 6, going either over or under is not likely to earn you a desirable amount.
Look for this to be a tight one, with overtime potentially in our sights.
For more betting analysis across the NHL, be sure to head over to PuckLuck.com.
*PuckLuck.com provides data related to gambling and cannot guarantee the success of any suggested or related wagers. Please gamble responsibly.*