NHL Picks: Bruins vs. Sabres

David Schwab

Sunday, March 31, 2013 2:34 PM GMT

The Boston Bruins will try and keep pace in the Northeast Division title race when they face the Buffalo Sabres this Sunday at the First Niagara Center.

NHL Game Preview and Pick

The game is slated to get underway at 4:30 p.m. (PT) and it will broadcast nationally the NBC Sports Network.

Bruins Overview

Boston continues to lose ground against Montreal in the race for the top spot in the Northeast Division with just two victories in its last seven games. The latest setback was a 3-1 loss to Philadelphia on Saturday as a 152 favorite on the road. The Bruins are now three points out of the lead with 46 total points on a record of 21-8-4 that includes a 10-6-2 mark on the road this season. The total has stayed UNDER in eight of their last 10 games.

A huge contributor to this losing skid has been a once potent offense that has managed to score a total of just 14 goals in the past seven games after averaging close to three goals a game all season long. The Bruins have only allowed 19 goals during this stretch but that difference has been enough to produce a record of 2-4-1. Boston remains ranked third in the NHL in goals allowed; giving-up an average of 2.2 a game. It is killing off 90.4 percent of its opponent’s power plays which is ranked first in the league.

Sabres Overview

The Sabres are three points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East with 32 points as a result of an overall record of 13-16-6. They are an even 6-6-3 at home this season and the total has gone OVER in three of their last five games. Buffalo has not helped its postseason chances over the past week with three-straight losses that include back-to-back defeats in a shootout against Florida (5-4) on the road and against Washington at home (4-3).

Scoring has not been the issue for Buffalo lately with three or more goals in six of its last nine games which has been more productive than its 2.6 goals-per-game average this season. The bad news is that its top scorer, Thomas Vanek (16 goals and 17 assists) remains questionable for Sunday after missing the last two games with an upper body injury. The Sabres will also be without defenseman Jordan Leopoid after he was traded to St. Louis on Saturday for future draft picks.

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Bruins vs. Sabres Betting Lines and Trends

Boston has been opened as a 147 road favorite on BetOnline’s NHL odds boards with the Senators listed as 134 underdogs at home. The total for this game has been set at 5.5.

The Bruins are 7-2 in their last nine games against a team with a losing record but only 1-5 in their last six games on the road. The total has stayed UNDER in five of their last seven road games.

The Sabres are 7-19 in their last 26 games playing on zero days’ rest and 2-5 in their last seven home games against a team with a winning record on the road. The total has gone OVER in four of their last five games at home.

Head-to-head in this divisional matchup, the home team is 5-2 in the last seven meetings and the total has gone OVER in six of the last 10 games in Buffalo. Boston is 2-5 in its last seven trips to the First Niagara Center including a 4-2 loss on Feb. 15 as a 128 road favorite.

[gameodds]7/223502/43-19-999996-92/us[/gameodds]

Bruins vs. Sabres Free NHL Pick

The Bruins have had their share of problems recently on the road against Buffalo, but this team is too good to keep losing the way it has. Look for Boston to find some much needed offense this Sunday night to pick-up a much needed win over the Sabres for our NHL picks.

Boston 3 - Buffalo 1 (lines provided by BetOnline)

Year-to-Date NHL Record: 21-12-2