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Sabres vs. Blue Jackets: Projected Lines, Betting Odds, How to Watch & More 2/23/24

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The Buffalo Sabres [25-27-4] hope to limit the cannon blasts in Nationwide Arena on Friday night as they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets [18-27-10]. Both teams are coming off road wins on Wednesday, as the Sabres beat the Canadiens in Montreal and the Blue Jackets took care of the Anaheim Ducks. The Blue Jackets are comfortably the Eastern Conference cellar-dwellers, which is something that Buffalo will look to take advantage of tonight.

Must Read:¬†Skinner Rediscovers Game in Sabres’ 3-2 Win in Montreal

How to Watch

Gametime: 7:00 p.m. ET

Location: Nationwide Arena (Columbus, OH)

TV: NHL Network; SNE (Eastern Canada); SNO (Ontario); MSG (Buffalo); BSOH (Columbus)

Stream: MSG+

Radio: WGR550

The Sabres

The Sabres’ top line of Jeff Skinner, Tage Thompson, and Alex Tuch had a revival of sorts on Wednesday after a hiatus of the chemistry the trio are accustomed to. This is good news for Buffalo, as the middle-six forward group has been their most consistent over the past couple of weeks. If the top three lines can all get going at the same time, the goal support that the team is so desperate for is bound to come.

Goal support is about all the Sabres need to get into the win column these days, with the way Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is playing. In 2024 alone, the Finnish netminder is second to only Jordan Binnington in goals saved above expected, with 16.22 per Evolving-Hockey. That means in his 14 games played in that time, Luukkonen has trimmed over a goal per game off the scoresheet for the opposition. The change from the expected three goals against per night down to under two has left ample room for the Sabres to find their scoring touch. He is the expected starter tonight, Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News reports.

The Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets just made an interesting trade on Thursday involving a former first-round pick of the Sabres, by acquiring Alex Nylander for Emil Bemstrom and a conditional 2026 draft pick. Nylander is not expected to suit up for Columbus in this game but should see more of an NHL opportunity down the stretch of the season.

Regarding the expected participants in Friday’s game, the familiar names are Johnny Gaudreau, Zach Werenski, and team captain Boone Jenner. The Blue Jackets have a young Russian trio that may catch your eye, however. 23-year-old Dmitri Voronkov has been a revelation for Columbus, as he centers a line that includes top-50 selections Yegor Chinakhov and Kirill Marchenko. Voronkov is the workhorse of the group, while Chinakhov and Marchenko are willing and dangerous shooters.

All three are positive goal-differential players this season by the PuckLuck model’s standard, which is encouraging on a team struggling as much as Columbus is.

Injury Report

Buffalo

  • Erik Johnson (Illness) Day-to-Day
  • Victor Olofsson (Illness) Day-to-Day
  • Owen Power (Hand) Week-to-Week [IR]
  • Jack Quinn (Lower Body) Out 4-6 Weeks [IR]
  • Mattias Samuelsson (Upper Body) Out For Season [IR]

Columbus

  • Alex Texier (Undisclosed) Day-to-Day
  • Adam Fantilli (Laceration) Out
  • Patrik Laine (Personal) Player Assistance Program

Projected Lines

Buffalo Sabres

Jeff Skinner – Tage Thompson – Alex Tuch

Jordan Greenway – Casey Mittelstadt – Dylan Cozens

Zach Benson – Peyton Krebs – JJ Peterka

Eric Robinson – Zemgus Girgensons – Kyle Okposo

Rasmus Dahlin – Henri Jokiharju

Jacob Bryson – Connor Clifton

Ryan Johnson – Kale Clague

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (Confirmed)

 

Lineup Source: Lance Lysowski, The Buffalo News

Goalie Source: Lance Lysowski, The Buffalo News

 

Columbus Blue Jackets

Johnny Gaudreau – Boone Jenner – Jack Roslovic

Yegor Chinakhov – Dmitri Voronkov – Kirill Marchenko

Kent Johnson – Cole Sillinger – Justin Danforth

[Vacant] – Sean Kuraly – Mathieu Olivier

Zach Werenski – Adam Boqvist

Ivan Provorov – Damon Severson

Jake Bean – Erik Gudbranson

Andrew Peeke (7th D)

Daniil Tarasov (Confirmed)

 

Lineup Source: Jeff Svoboda, Blue Jackets Insider

Goalie Source: Jeff Svoboda, Blue Jackets Insider

Betting Odds Breakdown

Buffalo Sabres Columbus Blue Jackets win probability

The value bet for the Sabres and Blue Jackets Friday night is the under. Of the projected starting goalies, Luukkonen has been among the league’s best and Tarasov has been among the league’s worst in the new year. Buffalo has struggled to score and Columbus can explode for goals in bunches. So mix it all up and what do you get?

Well, you get a 6.5 game total with a plus-money under, when in reality the PuckLuck projects under six goals in this game. That’s a quality edge on betting the under according to the model, which is hitting at over 54% and returning over 12% on investment on suggested game total wagers this season. For the units crowd, that’s over 92 units of profit.

Given the uncertainty of the Blue Jackets’ line matchups by likely going with 11 forwards and seven defensemen and leaving room for standard error, there’s not a strong enough bet either way on the moneyline or puckline in this game. If there’s a lean anywhere it’s to Columbus’ side as the big underdog, but it’s simply not a value buy.

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.*