The Buffalo Sabres will travel to Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night to take on the Nashville Predators in a non-conference game. The Sabres are sixth in the Atlantic Division (10-19-6, 26 points) and are riding a six-game losing streak after losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-1 at home on Tuesday. The Predators lead the Central Division (24-11-2, 50 points) and are riding a five-game winning streak after defeating the Colorado Avalanche at home Tuesday in overtime by a final score of 5-4.
This is not expected to be a close game, as the two franchises tend to go in different directions. Let’s dig into Buffalo and Nashville to determine where we should bet for this game.
The Buffalo Sabres have been struggling so far this season and one of the bright spots is the play of right winger Tage Thompson, who has been playing extremely well to start the season. The Sabres are dealing with 11 players on the injury report, so they are trying to figure out how to field a competitive roster. The 2016 first-round pick is currently leading the team in points and goals, as he is at 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists) this season and has scored five points in his previous five games. In the last game against the San Jose Sharks, he finished with an assist on five shots in 18:27 on the ice.
Aaron Dell is expected to be in net for the Buffalo Sabres in this game and has been struggling brutally this year. In his last game against the Carolina Panthers, he came in for 10 minutes and did not allow a goal on four shot attempts. On the season, they are 0-5-0 and have allowed 20 goals on 156 shots. Buffalo, as a team, has allowed 125 goals this season, which is 28th in the league. They have been around league average in goals against on the power play (18) and power play opportunities against (86), so this defense shouldn’t be a problem there.
The Nashville Predators have been one of the best teams this season and one of the reasons is the play of defenseman Roman Josi, who has played very well early in the season. They only have Filip Forsberg and Thomas Novak on the injured list, as they are on health and safety protocols, so they are as healthy as they should expect. They are tied for 12th in the league in points as they have 37 points (12 goals, 25 assists) and have recorded seven points in their last three games. In his last game against the Colorado Avalanche, he finished with three assists on three shot attempts in 29:44 on the ice.
Juuse Saros is expected to start in goal for the Nashville Predators and has been one of the top goaltenders in the NHL this season. He is 20-9-1 with 2.27 goals allowed per game and a .928 save percentage. In his last game against the Colorado Avalanche, Saros allowed four goals on 44 shots in an overtime win. Nashville, as a team, has allowed 99 goals this season, which is 11th in the league. They have been decent against the power play, as they have allowed 22 power play goals on 126 opportunities (82.54 shutout percentage), so this defense has been improving as the season has gone on.