Cross-state foes the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres will face off in an East Division matchup. The Islanders sit in third place in the division while the Sabres are in last placed, but have played three less games due to COVID protocols. The Islanders travel upstate to take on Buffalo (7pm ET Tuesday; TV: Live on MSG-B, MSG+).
The Sabres have had six straight games postponed. They hadn’t played since a January 31st loss to the New Jersey Devils until last night. They finally got back on the ice against the Isles and came out flat. They were only able to muster one goal on 21 shots against Semyon Varlamov. This was well below their average of 32.2 shots on goal per game, which is good for 2nd in the NHL. Varlamov has been one of the stronger goalies on the season so far and has only given up 1.98 goals on average per game. As a team the Islander’s defensive unit only allows 2.44 goals per game, which is 4th best in the league.
After not playing for two weeks the Sabres will now have to play back-to-back games. My biggest concern for them is conditioning and this may affect my betting predictions for this NHL game. Will they come out slow once again with tired legs? They looked to be a bit rusty and not rested in their first game back. We saw the Washington Capitals come off a long COVID layoff and lose to their heated rivals Pittsburgh 6-3. They seemed to play with more rust than rest.
Monday night against the Isles, the Sabres were held scoreless in the first period while New York were able to net two goals. Buffalo had several players out due to COVID protocol. They were missing center Curtis Lazar, defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen, Jake McCabe and Brandon Montour. All four players have played in each of their 10 games thus far. Their status will be key for today’s game. Lazar is tied for second on the team with three goals while Ristolainen sits fourth on the team with four assists. Without these four players the Sabres are quite thin and this will be especially tough in the second game of a back-to-back.
The Islanders have one of the stronger defensive units in the league and I expect them to be stout yet again tonight. They allow the fifth fewest goals and the 11th fewest shots on goal per game on average. Their strong defense makes up for their rather lackluster offense. They are 25th in goals scored and 17th in shots on goal per game. They were able to take advantage of a rusty Buffalo team and put up three goals on Monday night. I expect the Islanders to exploit an even more tired Sabres team and come out victorious again in this NHL matchup. This will only be Buffalo’s second game in two weeks.
New York Islanders vs Buffalo Sabres Picks & Betting Predictions Verdict For This Preview
I am going to be playing the New York Islanders on the moneyline with the big online USA sportsbooks. I think their stifling defense combined with the tired legs of the Sabres will be enough to propel them to their second victory in as many nights. The defense really picks up an offense that struggles at times. This is a good spot for the offense to step up once again. The Sabres defense ranks 21st in the NHL and allows 3.1 goals per game on average. I expect the Isles to do enough on both ends to win this game fairly comfortably after their 3-1 victory on Monday night. If you are looking for a plus price I wouldn’t fault you for taking the -1.5 as I think they could very well win by two goals. However our advice and betting prediction is:
- Bet on New York Islanders on the moneyline @ -140 with Bovada.