NY Rangers (24-24-8) at Buffalo (28-21-7)
When: Friday, February 15th, 2019
Where: KeyBank Center,
Buffalo, New York
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: NHL Network
Opening Odds: Buffalo -167/6
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The Buffalo Sabres are using their current seven-game homestand to get back on track as they climb back up the Eastern Conference standings and towards a possible playoff berth. The Sabres really stumbled after a red-hot start to the season, but are 3-2-1 on the long homestand and have scored three or more in all but one, including a couple of five-goal outbursts. Buffalo, who have allowed just five goals in their last three games, looks for another solid defensive effort on Friday when they host the New York Rangers at KeyBank Center. The Sabres took care of another New York team in the Islanders on Tuesday when forward Jason Pominville scored the go-ahead goal in the 3-1 victory over the Metropolitan leaders, giving him three goals on the homestand. While Buffalo is now four points behind Pittsburgh for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, New York stands 11 back after Tuesday’s 4-3 setback to Winnipeg. The teams have split their two meetings this season with the home team winning 3-1 in both.
New York has dropped four of six despite playing well on special teams and now the talk around the locker room is about the upcoming trade deadline. The Rangers are 10-for-30 on the power play in their last 11 games and 12-for-13 on the penalty kill in the last six. Mika Zibanejad has been on fire, scoring 13 of his team-leading 25 goals in the last 11 games after netting two against the Jets. Linemate Mats Zuccarello assisted on a pair of goals Tuesday to increase his point total to 19 (five goals, 14 assists) in his past 12 games. Veteran goalie Henrik Lundqvist has a 21-13-2 record with two shutouts, a 2.32 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 37 career contests versus Buffalo.
Buffalo is going to need all the wins they can get against teams they should beat because the schedule coming up is brutal. After Friday, the Sabres will play eight of their next 12 on the road that includes trips to Toronto (twice), Tampa Bay, and Philadelphia. Captain Jack Eichel is currently on a six-game point streak (two goals, six assists) after setting up goals by Jeff Skinner and Pominville against the Islanders. Eichel is just the second Sabre in the last 20 years to reach 60 points in 53 or fewer games. His career high is 64 points set last season in just 67 games. Skinner has three goals in his last six games to reside three shy of his career high.
I know the Rangers aren’t very good, but Buffalo should not be laying 160 against any team. I have to look at line value when it comes to hockey games. If this was a pickem game, I would take the Sabres, but the Rangers are worth a shot as an underdog.
Pick: Rangers +145
Rangers are 27-55 in their last 82 games as an underdog.
Rangers are 17-35 in their last 52 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Rangers are 19-40 in their last 59 when their opponent allows 2 goals or less in their previous game.
Rangers are 15-36 in their last 51 road games.
Rangers are 15-37 in their last 52 games as a road underdog.
Sabres are 21-7 in their last 28 games as a favorite of -151 to -200.
Sabres are 21-7 in their last 28 games as a home favorite of -151 to -200.
Sabres are 18-37 in their last 55 games following a win.
Sabres are 17-36 in their last 53 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game.
Sabres are 6-13 in their last 19 vs. Eastern Conference.
Sabres are 14-39 in their last 53 vs. Metropolitan.
Rangers are 20-8 in the last 28 meetings.
Favorite is 20-7 in the last 27 meetings.
Under is 10-3 in the last 13 meetings in Buffalo.
Rangers are 7-2 in the last 9 meetings in Buffalo.
Under is 5-1-1 in the last 7 meetings.
Home team is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings.