Avalanche to Keep Sabres from Extending Win Streak

Dana Lane

Sunday, February 11, 2018 5:24 PM UTC

Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 5:24 PM UTC

Colorado has won 11 of the last 14 meetings against Buffalo, and with your NHL picks expect that trend to continue tonight despite the host's recent surge.

Sunday NHL: Avalanche vs. SabresFree NHL Pick: Avalanche -114Best Line offered: BetOnline

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Simply put, we just crushed another day in the NHL on Saturday.

It started on the "Ice Guys Show" with picks on Philadelphia, Nashville and a miracle "over" in the Buffalo-Boston game with a late empty-netter. That means "Ice Guys" followers are on a 12-3 run. I wonder if anyone notices. While I wait for that miracle, we’ll just keep on making money.

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Perfectly executed 3-on-1. Here's the GWG. #CheersToHockey 🏒 pic.twitter.com/GSuSJgtWwU

— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) February 11, 2018

It has been quite a turnaround for Jared Bednar’s Avalanche, who finished with just 48 points last season. To put that in perspective, the Avalanche are just 54 games into the current season and they’ve already banked 62 points, a 94-point pace. They have been a friend to bettors who study the NHL odds board, earning almost 10 units of profit on money-line wagers.

Part of the reason for the turnaround is their 180 on the power play, where they’ve converted 19.4 percent of their chances (18th). Not impressive on its own, but compared to their 12.6 percent (31st) of last season it’s a gigantic jump. They managed just 30 goals with the man advantage in 2016-17, and this year they already have 39 (seventh) which equates to a pace of 59. There are many things going right for Colorado, which is just four points behind Minnesota for the last wild-card spot in the West, but you can easily point to the power play as a glaring improvement.

For the Sabres, it would appear all is well in Western New York. After all, they’ve won three straight and can match their longest win streak this season with a win tonight. Unfortunately, Jack Eichel left Saturday's victory in the first period with a lower-body injury and didn’t return.

Eichel, who leads the Sabres in virtually every offensive category, will have an MRI today, which likely means he won’t be available to play tonight. Without Eichel, who has 53 points, it means Ryan O’Reilly (37 points) will play top-line center minutes. I usually go against teams that are making major line changes, whether it’s adding or losing a player. The truth is, O’Reilly will likely do well filling in, but it’s the void he leaves that is bothersome. Eichel’s absence leaves a gaping hole on the second line vacated by O’Reilly.

Johan Larsson (3G, 6A, 9 pts) will likely get the second-line center assignment. At nearly 26 and in his fifth season, Larsson has not been as reliable or consistent as Buffalo would like. This is usually the time where players peak, and this is a chance for him to do that. However, as far as tonight's NHL picks are concerned, we’re getting on the back of the visiting Avalanche and riding it all the way to the cashier’s window.

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