NHL Picks: Sabres vs. Penguins Betting Preview

Ross Benjamin

Saturday, October 5, 2013 11:45 AM UTC

Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 11:45 AM UTC

The Sabres and Penguins meet on Saturday night at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh with faceoff set for 7:05 PM ET. Let's review the NHL betting lines for this game.

NHL Preview-Sabres @ Penguins 

According to current NHL betting odds the Penguins are a -225 money line home favorite and the total is 6.0. The Penguins are -1.5 (+140) on the puck-line. These 2 clubs split the 4 meetings last season with the road team winning all 4-games. The series saw 3 of the 4 games go over the total. The usually low scoring Sabres were able to score 14-goals in those 4 meetings with the Penguins last season.

No Support for Ryan Miller

The Sabres wasted a great effort by Ryan Miller in their home opener last night falling 1-0 to the Ottawa Senators. Miller stopped 45 of the 46 Ottawa shots on goal. Unfortunately he surrendered a goal with just 1:35 left in regulation as he was beaten by the Senators Erik Karlsson.  In the first 2-games of the season Miller has been lights out in stopping 77 of 80 shots for a .963 save percentage. It’s a safe bet that backup Jhonas Enroth will be between the pipes for the Sabres on Saturday night. Enroth appeared in 12-games last season and posted a 2.60 goals against average.

Sabres Power Outage

The Sabres managed to muster 35 shots on goal but failed to get one by Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson. Buffalo was 0-4 on the power play which makes them a dismal 0-11 in the first 2-games of the season. That type of futility is nothing new to Sabres fans which saw their team rank 29th in the NHL on the power play a season ago. Despite only allowing just 3-goals in their first 2 games the Sabres are off to a 0-2 start. They lost their season opener at Detroit 2-1 on Wednesday night. The lack of goal scoring is something that will likely haunt the Sabres all season long. Their top sniper Thomas Vanek was stymied on Friday night in spite of accumulating 9-shots on goal. Vanek has also been on the ice for all 3-goals the Sabres have given up this season. Buffalo has been outshot in their first 2-games of the season 80-55. Following tonight’s game the Sabres are off until Tuesday when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Check out my Eastern Conference Betting Preview~

Fleury Back in Top Form

After suffering through a horrendous postseason last spring Marc Andre-Feury looked to be back in top form in the season opener on Thursday night. Fleury stopped all 27-shots in a 3-0 home win over the New Jersey Devils. Included in one of those 27 saves was turning back Adam Henrique on a penalty shot in the 3rd period to preserve the shutout. It was the 24th career shutout for the Pittsburgh goaltender.  Rest assured that Fleury will be back in the nets tonight. Regular backup Thomas Vokoun is on injured reserve recovering from a blood clot. The backup for Pittsburgh will be 26-year old Jeff Zatkoff who’s yet to appear in a NHL game in his career.

“Sid the Kid”

Sidney Crosby is off and running after scoring a goal just 12:19 into the first period of the season opener. Crosby saw 21:13 of ice time and won 15 of 22 (68.2%) of his faceoffs. Crosby had 56-points in just 36-games a season ago. Chuck Kobaskew and Craig Adams also added goals for the Penguins. After tonight’s game the Penguins are off until hosting Carolina on Tuesday night.


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Final Analysis

Granted the Sabres had success scoring some goals last season versus the Penguins, but this year’s team looks even more anemic offensively than they did a season ago. Through the first 2-games the Sabres top line of Vanek-Hodgson-Stafford has gone scoreless. They have little or no depth at the forward positions. The defense is solid and Ryan Miller has given them a chance to win the first 2-games with his outstanding play. If Johnas Enroth gets the call tonight he’s a very capable backup and looked very sharp late in the preseason. Marc Andre Fleury should be able to build on his performance in his season opening shutout versus an opponent lacking firepower. The total is 6.0 is high for a Sabres game even with the high scoring Penguins involved. For your NHL picks, I have a small lean toward the under in this game.

Free Pick: Buffalo/Pittsburgh Under 6.0 

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