New Jersey (16-18-7) at Buffalo (22-14-6)
When: Tuesday, January 8th, 2019
Where: KeyBank Center,
Buffalo, New York
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: MSG, MSG-Buffalo
Opening Odds: Buffalo -135/6
The Buffalo Sabres were the darlings of the NHL over the first few months of the season, but have slowly been dropping in the standings and currently site in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with two of their best players sidelined at the moment. Buffalo will try and get back on track when they host the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night. The Sabres might not have the services of superstar forward Jack Eichel after sitting out the past two games due to an upper-body injury but he did practice on Monday and will be a gametime decision come Tuesday according to coach Phil Housley. Buffalo has lost four of its last five (1-3-1) and scored a combined five goals in the four defeats and are in no rush to bring back their franchise player too soon. New Jersey also is missing its leading scorer in reigning NHL MVP Taylor Hall, but are 4-2-0 without him entering the finale of a four-game road trip. The Devils own a six-game point streak (5-0-1) against the Sabres and have won their last six visits to Buffalo. New Jersey is currently 11 points out of a playoff spot in the East.
Goaltender Keith Kinkaid will most likely start in this one after rookie backup MacKenzie Blackwood was injured in Friday’s win at Arizona and was not available in Sunday’s loss to Vegas. Because the Devils did not practice on Monday, no medical updates on Hall or Blackwood were available. Kinkaid has won all three career starts against the Sabres while stopping 80 of 83 shots. Center Nico Hischier, the top overall pick in the 2017 draft, has scored in back-to-back games to give him five goals and nine points over his last 10 contests. Forward Kyle Palmieri has eclipsed 20 goals in four straight seasons but has just two in 10 games against Buffalo in his career.
Eichel isn’t the only wounded warrior for Buffalo, as forward Sam Reinhart missed practice for the second straight day due to an illness and that would leave Buffalo without two-thirds of their top line if he and Eichel can’t go. Forward Zemgus Girgensons went through his first full practice with the team since Dec. 22 and skated on a line with Casey Mittelstadt and C.J. Smith. Backup goalie Linus Ullmark has started the past two games with starter Carter Hutton mired in a six-game winless drought (0-4-2).
Injuries or not, this Buffalo team is struggling right now, while the Devils are playing pretty good hockey, especially on the road. Most books don’t have an overnight line on this, but Bovada does. I’ll grab New Jersey at +110 while I can.
Pick: Devils +110
- Devils are 17-35 in their last 52 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Devils are 12-25 in their last 37 overall.
- Devils are 26-55 in their last 81 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Devils are 23-50 in their last 73 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Devils are 16-35 in their last 51 road games.
- Devils are 3-8 in their last 11 games playing on 1 days rest.
- Devils are 3-8 in their last 11 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Devils are 3-9 in their last 12 vs. Atlantic.
- Sabres are 5-2 in their last 7 games playing on 2 days rest.
- Sabres are 26-53 in their last 79 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Sabres are 59-121 in their last 180 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Sabres are 22-46 in their last 68 vs. a team with a winning % below .400.
- Sabres are 5-14 in their last 19 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
- Sabres are 12-39 in their last 51 vs. Metropolitan.
- Sabres are 1-4 in their last 5 overall.
- Sabres are 2-10 in their last 12 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Over is 3-0-1 in Devils last 4 Tuesday games.
- Under is 7-1 in Devils last 8 games playing on 1 days rest.
- Over is 6-1 in Devils last 7 vs. Atlantic.
- Under is 4-1 in Devils last 5 overall.
- Over is 11-3 in Devils last 14 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Over is 16-5-2 in Devils last 23 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Over is 20-9-1 in Devils last 30 road games.
- Over is 8-0-1 in Sabres last 9 vs. a team with a winning % below .400.
- Under is 6-1 in Sabres last 7 overall.
- Under is 8-2-1 in Sabres last 11 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Under is 4-1 in Sabres last 5 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Under is 4-1 in Sabres last 5 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Under is 7-2 in Sabres last 9 games playing on 2 days rest.
- Over is 5-2 in Sabres last 7 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
- Devils are 6-0 in the last 6 meetings in Buffalo.
- Devils are 10-2 in the last 12 meetings.
- Under is 19-7-4 in the last 30 meetings in Buffalo.
- Under is 36-16-7 in the last 59 meetings.
- Road team is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings.