Rinne, Predators Will Stop Sabres In Potential Cup Preview Monday

Jimmy Murphy

Sunday, December 2, 2018 4:19 PM UTC

Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018 4:19 PM UTC

In a potential Stanley Cup Final preview Monday, Pekka Rinne and the Predators will send the Sabres to their third straight loss. Here's a closer look for your NHL picks. Bet confidently with tips from SBRpicks.com.

Jimmy's NHL picks record: 37-31-2

Buffalo (17-7-3, 17-10 ATS) at Nashville (18-8-1, 18-9 ATS)Monday, 8 p.m. ETFree NHL Pick: Predators PLBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Not many would’ve thought that this early December interconference tilt between the Buffalo Sabres and Nashville Predators could be a potential Stanley Cup Final matchup, but thanks to the Sabres’ recent 10-game win streak and the Preds’ consistent play and lead in the Western Conference, there’s a realistic shot both could see each other again -- not just on April 2 in Buffalo, but later in the spring, to play for Lord Stanley. Yes, the Sabres are still a young team learning how to win consistently like the Predators and there’s a lot of hockey left in this 2018-19 season, but what Buffalo showed on that recent streak was something special and another reminder that they’re close to returning to contending status on a regular basis.

All of that being said, the Sabres aren’t quite there yet and they will be reminded of that Monday night in Smashville, as the Predators will hand them their third straight loss.

Standings wise and stats wise, these teams are very evenly matched right now with both coming into this game with 37 points. The Sabres have scored 85 goals and the Predators have scored 88. Both have depth up front and on defense, and both play a style catered to today’s NHL with speed and physicality. The major differences right now would be experience and then goaltending, and the latter is what will be the difference in this game. While the Sabres have gotten very solid goaltending from 32-year-old Carter Hutton, his former mentor from his days in Nashville, Pekka Rinne, may be having a better season at 36 than he had last season when he won the Vezina Trophy. Rinne will outduel his former understudy and the Preds will win their second straight.

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Pekka Rinne with the rare \"glove hurdle save.\"#Preds pic.twitter.com/LLH4y89jS0

— Jeremy K. Gover (@govertime) December 2, 2018
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The Predators are 18-9 against the spread and 10-5 at home. Nashville has potted 88 goals and allowed just 66. They’re 12-14-1 on the over/under and 6-8-1 at home. The Preds are 13-14 on the puck line and 8-7 at home. Ryan Johansen leads the Predators in assists with 18 and points with 23. Filip Forsberg leads the team in goals with 14. Roman Josi leads the Nashville blueline with 5 goals and 13 assists.

The Sabres are 17-10 against the spread and 8-7 on the road. They’ve lit the lamp 85 times. They’ve allowed 76 goals and are 13-13-1 on the over/under and 7-7-1 on the road. Buffalo is 17-10 on the puck line and 11-4 on the road. Jack Eichel leads the team in assists with 27 and points with 32. Forward Jeff Skinner is in the midst of a potential career year and huge payday next July as the first-year Sabre and potential unrestricted free agent leads the team with 20 goals. 2018 No. 1 pick Rasmus Dahlin was recently named NHL rookie of the month for November. The rookie blueliner has 2 goals and 12 assists.

Goaltending Matchup

For the visiting Sabres, Hutton is 12-7-0-1 with a 2.63 GAA and .917 save percentage. Linus Ullmark is 5-0-0-2 with a 2.57 GAA and .927 save percentage.

For the Predators, Rinne is 11-4-0-1 with a 1.86 GAA and .934 save percentage. Juuse Saros is 7-4-0 with a 3.29 GAA and .891 save percentage.

M*A*S*H Report

For the Sabres, forward Jason Pominville is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Forward Conor Sheary is on injured reserve with an upper-body injury. Defenseman Marco Scandella is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Defenseman Jake McCabe is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Forward Scott Wilson is out indefinitely with an ankle injury. Defenseman Matt Hunwick is out indefinitely with a neck injury.

For the Predators, forward Kyle Turris is on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury. Defenseman P.K. Subban is back practicing but still day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Forward Viktor Arvidsson is out 3-4 more weeks with a broken thumb.

Prediction: Predators 4, Sabres 2
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