Free NHL Hockey Prediction: Hurricanes vs Sabres NHL Odds
Looking for Carolina Hurricanes vs. Buffalo Sabres free hockey plays & NHL Odds? NHL betting sees the Hurricanes taking on the Sabres on Saturday December 17th at the KeyBank Arena in Buffalo, NY. Cappers Picks provides complimentary expert handicapping picks on all NHL Hockey matchups all season long so stay tuned for more FREE daily NHL hockey predictions.
(13-11-7) Carolina Hurricanes vs. Buffalo Sabres (12-11-7)
Date: Thursday December 22nd
Time: 4:00 PM
Venue: KeyBank Arena in Buffalo, NY
NHL Hockey Moneyline Odds: Sabres -117
NHL Hockey Puck Line Odds:
NHL Betting Total: 5
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Two teams with almost identical records will do battle in Buffalo, with the visiting Carolina Hurricanes owning just one more win in one more game played than the Sabres.
Both teams are essentially in the midst of a rebuild, having drafted near the top the past few seasons but still experiencing some growing pains.
The Canes sit almost exactly at league average in both goals per game, ranking 16th at 2.6, and goals against, ranking 14th at 2.7. Their special teams, however, have been what they can hang their hat on, sitting amongst the top of the league.
The Hurricanes have the 7th best powerplay this year, scoring on 21.7% of their man-advantage opportunities. Winger Jeff Skinner leads the charge with 11 powerplay points in 30 games.
Skinner is once again showing the flashes that made him the 7th overall pick in 2010 and a 2011 rookie season with garnered him rookie of the year attention.
He has 12 goals and 26 points on the 2016-17 season.
Carolina owns the best penalty kill in the NHL this year, with an efficiency rate of 91.3%.
The talented young defensive core, led by Justin Faulk, Noah Hanafin and Jaccob Slavin, have lived up to the hype.
A solider year from veteran starting netminder, Cam Ward, has certainly helped as well. Ward owns a .915 SV% on the year and a 2.30 GAA in 25 games played, with a 10-8-6 record.
The Sabres are a winning team with young star, Jack Eichel, in the lineup this season. In their past nine games with Eichel, Buffalo is 5-4 and have scored an average of 3.0 goals per game in that span.
After missing the first 21 games of the year due to an ankle injury, Eichel has returned with a bang. In his nine games this year, Eichel has netted give goals and eight points.
He’s reminding fans that he is a franchise player and is not to be forgotten in the conversation with the top young talent in the league.
The Sabres can certainly use the boost, as they sit 28th overall in goals per game at 2.2 on the year.
Their leading scorer, Kyle Okposo, sits with nine goals and 22 points. It surprising considering their powerplay is third best in the league at a 22.9% conversion rate, leaving much to be desired at 5-on-5 play.
Their other defensive side of special teams, however, ranks as dead-last. Buffalo has a penalty kill rate of just 73.6%, joining the Chicago Blackhawks as the only two teams with a rate of less than 75%.
Though the penalty kill has been terrible this year, the blame can’t really fall on the shoulders of their netminders.
Starter, Robin Lehner, owns a .920 SV% and 2.45 GAA, and his back-up, Anders Nilsson, has a .933 and 2.22, respectively.
NHL Betting Trends:
- Buffalo’s 3rd ranked powerplay will face Carolina’s league-leading penalty kill
- Carolina has a -5 goal differential on the season
- Carolina is 4-8-6 on the road
- Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask have scored 27.5% of Carolina’s goals this year
- Buffalo is 7-6-3 at home
- Buffalo is 4-4 in December games
Free Carolina Hurricanes vs. Buffalo Sabres NHL Hockey Prediction:
As I mentioned earlier, the Sabres are a winning team with both Jack Eichel in the lineup, and also on home ice this season.
Looking at Carolina’s road record, I like the Sabres to take this pre-Christmas game and give their fans an early present.
It may come down to special teams.
4* Free NHL Betting Pick: Buffalo Moneyline Check back later for a free ATS, ML or O/U pick.
While Carolina has the better rankings overall, Buffalo’s goaltenders have performed better than those in Carolina and I like the positive-regression to start on the Buffalo PK.
NHL Free Score Prediction: Carolina 2 – Buffalo 3
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