NHL Picks: Sabers vs. Hurricanes

David Lawrence

Thursday, January 24, 2013 11:00 PM GMT

The Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes have started the season in very different fashions. Both teams disappointed last season but the Sabres appear to have turned things around.

NHL Betting – Sabres vs Hurricanes NHL Picks

Starting with two wins while looking crisp. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are still winless.

These two squads start a home-and-home matchup on Thursday and wrap it up on Friday. Here’s a closer look at the matchup along with prediction on the NHL odds:

Record: 10-11 (-100)

The Buffalo Sabres can win because:

The Hurricanes are having the same issues that made them the 12th-best team in the Eastern Conference last season. In the 2011-12 season, the Hurricanes ranked 12th in the East in goals scored and 11th in goals scored. So far, neither of those areas have looked improved and that’s why the Hurricanes are 0-2.

The ‘Canes have been outscored 9-2 in their two losses so far and what’s worse is that one of those games was at home to Tampa Bay, who is not a great road team, and the other was a loss to Florida, who is not a high-scoring team. The ‘Canes have only scored two goals themselves and that’s not going to cut it with Ryan Miller coming to town.

Buffalo has been impressive to start the season as they turned aside the Philadelphia Flyers very easily in their opener and controlled the Toronto Maple Leafs for all but the final minutes in their second win. Carolina is a team that’s in search of their identity and chemistry right now; Buffalo can take advantage.

The Carolina Hurricanes can win because:

They play well against Ryan Miller. The ‘Canes won two of their three games against him last season and Miller had a 3.02 GAA against them. On the whole, Miller has won just two of his last six meetings with the Hurricanes.

The Sabres have looked good to start the year but we can quantify that by saying that beating the Flyers isn’t a big deal since they’re not that good (apparently) and clinging to a 2-1 win over the Maple Leafs isn’t that impressive either.

Really, the key to a ‘Canes win on Thursday will be their special teams. They gave up three power play goals in their opener and another one in their second game. Their own power play is just one-for-11 so far. If the Hurricanes can start to kill some penalties and take advantage of when their opponent is short-handed, they’ll be in much better shape.

[gameodds]7/218138/43/us[/gameodds]

Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction:

It’s hard to like the Hurricanes at this point. We knew their blue line was brutal heading into the year and that’s continued to be the case. Meanwhile, we thought their offense would be better with the additions of Alex Semin and Jordan Staal but that has yet to be the case. It looks like the Hurricanes are still adjusting to the new faces and trying to find the right pairings to build some chemistry.

On the flip side, Buffalo comes into this game confident and playing. That’s why we’ll stick with them for our hockey picks, to take the first of this home-and-home series.

NHL Picks: Sabres EVEN at BetOnline