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Buffalo Sabres

Sabres vs. Lightning: Projected Lines, Betting Odds, How to Watch & More 2/29/24



The Buffalo Sabres [27-28-4] face the Tampa Bay Lightning [32-24-5] on Thursday in hopes of gaining some sign of life in a playoff race. The Sabres currently sit 11 points back of the Lightning with 23 games remaining. After another tough loss on Tuesday in Florida, the margin for error is about as thin as it gets.

Must Read: Granato Gets Heated; Sabres Burnt in Florida 3-2

How to Watch

Gametime: 7:00 p.m. ET

Location: Amalie Arena (Tampa, Florida)

TV: MSG (Buffalo); BSSUN (Tampa)

Stream: MSG+; ESPN+ (Out of market)

Radio: WGR550

The Sabres

Riding stellar goaltending has not yielded the results the Sabres had hoped, as the team is still struggling to find its consistent scoring touch from last season. The good news is that Tage Thompson is starting to look like the dangerous player he can be again. In the last five games, Thompson’s shots are up to over five per game. That’s a full shot and a half per game higher than he’s averaged all season.

Although he’s scoring at under an 8% clip with those shots, his 2.64 individual expected goals lead the team in that span. In other words, he’s not only shooting for the sake of throwing pucks to the net. He’s generating the best quality scoring chances on the team.

That’s essentially a microcosm of the entire team over the last two weeks. The actual goal totals are not meeting expectations, which amounts to too close of contests based on how much Buffalo has controlled the play.

The Lightning

While the Sabres haven’t been rewarded for good play, the Lightning have struggled mightily and are still clinging to a Wild Card spot. Tampa Bay is on a downtrend, with a goals-for percentage of 45.26% and an expected goals-for percentage of 46.86% over the last five games per Evolving-Hockey. That’s fourth-worst and second-worst in the Eastern Conference, respectively, over that period.

That downtrend, however, hasn’t slowed down forward Brandon Hagel. The former Sabres draft selection is riding a 14-game point streak, which is tied for the second-longest in Lightning franchise history. Former Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill’s decision not to sign Hagel to an entry-level deal will continue to haunt the team, as the Tampa winger has recorded 11 points in seven games against Buffalo. He’s only gone pointless in one of those games, so his odds of continuing his point streak look pretty strong.

Injury Report


  • Erik Johnson (Illness) Day-to-Day
  • Jack Quinn (Lower Body) Out 3-5 Weeks [IR]
  • Mattias Samuelsson (Upper Body) Out For Season [IR]

Tampa Bay

  • Haydn Fleury (Upper Body) Day-to-Day
  • Tanner Jeannot (Lower Body) Out [IR]
  • Logan Brown (Undisclosed) Out [IR]
  • Mikhail Sergachev (Leg) Out [IR]

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

Owen Power – Ryan Johnson

Jacob Bryson – Connor Clifton

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (Confirmed)


Lineup Source: Projected

Goalie Source: Lance Lysowski, The Buffalo News


Tampa Bay Lightning

Brandon Hagel – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov

Steven Stamkos – Nick Paul – Conor Sheary

Michael Eyssimont – Anthony Cirelli – Mitchell Chaffee

Tyler Motte – Luke Glendening – Austin Watson

Victor Hedman – Darren Raddysh

Calvin de Haan – Nick Perbix

Haydn Fleury – Erik Cernak

Andrei Vasilevskiy (Confirmed)


Lineup Source: Gabby Shirley, TB Lightning

Goalie Source: Gabby Shirley, TB Lightning

Betting Odds Breakdown

Buffalo Sabres Tampa Bay Lightning win probability

The Sabres are predictably underdogs on the road against the Lightning, as the PuckLuck model suggests about a 43% win probability for Buffalo on Thursday. The consensus at the sportsbooks is not as optimistic on Buffalo’s chances, leaving a slight betting edge on the Sabres.

Buffalo’s been hammering the under on game totals for a long time now, but today could be different. Given the Sabres’ recent underlying numbers and an eventual Lightning bounce-back performance, this could turn into more of a shootout than you might expect. It’ll come down to the play of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Andrei Vasilevskiy.

For more betting analysis across the NHL, be sure to head over to

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