The NHL resumes action on Tuesday after a brief sabbatical in accordance with its all-star game. We’re going to examine the total in Buffalo/Calgary game, in addition to offering our NHL pick,
Sabres in the Saddledome
The Calgary Flames will host the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday at 9:05 PM ET. My emphasis will be on the total in this contest. According to the NHL betting odds at BetOnline, the total at the time of this writing was 5.5.
Sabres Defensive Doldrums
Things have gone from bad to worse for the Sabres. They return from the all-star break having lost eleven in a row, and fifteen of their last sixteen games. What’s been really alarming has been their absolutely horrific play defensively. Buffalo has allowed 78-goals (4.1 per game)) combined during their previous nineteen contests. As a matter of fact, the Sabres rank dead last in the NHL by allowing 3.5 goals per game. Buffalo has also allowed their opponents to convert on 26.2% of their power play chances this season, and that also rates dead last in the NHL. The Sabres have seen just three of the previous nineteen games stay under the total, and that includes only one of their last ten on the road.
Home Sweet Home for the Flames
This will be the Flames first home game since completing a five game in twelve day road trip prior to the all-star break. Calgary has seen five of their last six games go over the total following a road trip of seven days or more. The Flames have faced the Sabres once this season, and were a 4-3 loser at Buffalo. The final score also easily went over the total of 5.0. Similar to tonight’s opponent, the Flames penalty killing has left a lot to be desired. The Flames 47-opponents this season have converted on 23.0% of their power play chances, and that ranks a dismal 26th in the NHL.
Although both of these teams have struggled mightily on the power play this season, neither has been very proficient with their penalty killing as previously alluded to. Despite losing to the Sabres earlier this season, the Flames amassed 45-shots on goal in that contest, only to be stonewalled by Jonas Enroth’s 42-saves. Enroth has been unable to stop a beach ball in recent starts, and his backup Michal Neuvirth hasn’t been much better. The Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller has been fighting the puck in recent games. Hiller has a terrible .864 save percentage in his last five appearances. My lean is toward this game being a high scoring affair, and that’s exactly what I’ll use when making my NHL picks for Tuesday.