Add Sabres vs. Stars 'Under' to NHL Picks

Ross Benjamin

Monday, March 3, 2014 4:43 PM GMT

The Stars host the Sabres on Monday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas with the opening puck drop scheduled for 8:05 PM ET. Find out why we are looking to the total with our NHL picks tonight.

According to NHL betting odds the Stars are a -205 money line favorite and the posted total is 5.5. Buffalo has won 6 of the last 8 meetings between these clubs. The home teams has won 9 of the last 12-games in this series. Buffalo is currently last in the 8-team Atlantic Division, and are 16th overall in the Eastern Conference. Dallas is 5th in the Central Division, and are tied for 8th overall in the Western Conference.

[gameodds]7/257097/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Intriguing Side Notes

There's a lot of irony involving the 2 head coaches in this game. The current bench boss of the Stars Lindy Ruff was a long time player for the Sabres, and spent 16 seasons as the head coach in Buffalo as well. As a matter of fact, Ruff began his coaching tenure at the beginning of the 1997-1998 season, and he replaced Teddy Nolan who's now the interim head coach for the Sabres. 

The Sabres front office is currently in disarray following the abrupt resignation of the President of Hockey Operations Pat LaFontaine this past Saturday. There are plenty of rumors swirling around as to the reasons why. They vary from his displeasure with the recent trade of star goaltender Ryan Miller, and the possibility that new General Manager Tim Murray was not keen on retaining the services of Ted Nolan as the head coach beyond the completion of is season. Both Nolan and Murray were hired after the appointment of LaFontaine just 3 months ago.

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Break up the Sabres

The Sabres have returned from the Olympic break in emphatic fashion. They're 3-0 since resuming play following the break with home wins over Carolina, San Jose, and Boston. The 3-game win streak was the first of its kind for the Sabres this season. Monday will mark the debut of both Chris Stewart and Jaroslav Halak in a Sabres uniform. Both came over in a trade from St. Louis on Friday, that saw the Sabres ship Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to the Blues. With the trade deadline approaching on Wednesday the Sabres in all probability will continue to be active in their attempt to tweak their rebuilding process.

Battling for their Playoff Lives

The Dallas Stars are currently entangled in a 3-way tie with Vancouver and Winnipeg for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Stars hold the advantage with 2-games in hand on both the Canucks and Jets. The Stars are coming off a 4-2 home loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. It was the first time Dallas had gone over the total in their last 7-games. This will be the Stars 4th consecutive home game. Following tonight they will go on the road to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets tomorrow, then return to the American Air Lines Center to begin a critical 3-game in 5 day home stand. The Stars will conclude the regular season by playing 11 of their final 17-games on the road.

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Final Analysis

The Sabres are one of the more anemic offensive teams in all the NHL, ranking next to last in that category. Despite the Stars allowing 4-goals in their previous game versus Tampa Bay, they've really buckled down defensively of late. Prior to the Tampa Bay game they had allowed 2-goals or less in their last 5, and 8 of their last 10-games. This one has all the ear marks of a low scoring affair.

Free Pick: Buffalo/Dallas to go under the total of 5.5