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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Buffalo Sabres Free Picks & NHL Preview

Lightning vs Sabres NHL Line/Handicapping

Sabres Look for Win #1 – Host Lightning Tuesday Night

The Buffalo Sabres have not exactly started out their season as hoped – three straight losses and the club’s worst start ever has them looking up at the rest of their division looking for an answer to their early season woes.

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Tampa Bay Lightning (1-1-0-0) at Buffalo Sabres (0-3-0-0)
When: 7:30 PM ET, Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Where: First Niagara Center, Buffalo, New York
Broadcast: TSN2, NBCSN
Lightning vs. Sabres Betting Lines
Tampa Bay Lightning +1½ -290 +105 Ov 5½ +104
Buffalo Sabres -1½ +245 -116 Un 5½ -115

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Their challenge Tuesday night? A date with a Tampa Bay Lightning team the has played both of their games so far on the road – losing 3-1 to the defending Eastern Conference champs and beating the defending Stanley Cup champs in a shootout.

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The Lightning have played OK far this season – two road games against two of the NHLs elite and recording one win in those game. They were badly outshot in both games but the results on the scoreboard seem to point to a competitive team going forward. Goaltender Ben Bishop has been terrific so far and he alone seems to have shored up the goaltending issues that have plagued this team in years past.

It is early but if a keeper can steal the occasional game then the Lightning seem to be on the right path.

Tampa’s other best player – Steven Stamkos had two assists in Tampa’s win against Chicago and has five goals and five assists in his last 10 games versus Buffalo. Martin St. Louis, however, has been held to one of each in his last five against the Sabres.

Buffalo has recorded just two goals in three contests for an NHL-worst average of 0.67 per game to open the 2013-14 season. They have given up seven goals in those games – not good for a team looking to make strides this year in the Eastern Conference. [ad-4437448]

The Sabres also haven’t registered a power-play goal despite getting 13 opportunities. Buffalo needs to get their top-six forward group more engaged offensively; Cody Hodgson, Drew Stafford and Tyler Ennis have average fewer than 1.7 shots per game. Forward Ville Leino is out as is D-Man Henrik Tallender.

Veteran Thomas Vanek and 19-year-old Zemgus Girgensons – the two goal scorers for Buffalo this year have to hope to get things going Tuesday night – losing simply won’t be tolerated in Buffalo.

Goaltender Ryan Miller has done his part so far stopping 77 of 80 shots but he is banged up already. He missed Saturday’s game with a lower body injury – hopes are he can return Tuesday night. The Sabres will need strong defense against the dangerous Lightning – it is clear that the offense simply won’t get it done.

NHL Betting Prediction

A few trends to consider:

• TB are 2-9 in their last 11 overall.
• TB are 3-11 in their last 14 vs. Atlantic.
• TB are 20-50 in their last 70 road games.
• Under is 7-2-3 in BUF last 12 vs. Atlantic.
• Over is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings in Buffalo.
• TB are 8-20-1 in the last 29 meetings in Buffalo.

The Buffalo Sabres have given us nothing early in the season to suggest that they can break an ugly early-season slump. Off an impressive win against Chicago, the Lightning at least have a sense of optimism ahead of Tuesday night’s contest. Buffalo’s woes continue and the Lightning return home with a winning record.

Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning +105



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About DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.