Florida Panthers (18-23-7) at Buffalo Sabres (13-27-7)
|Date & Time||Tuesday January 21, 2014, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Buffalo Sabres -105 / Florida Panthers -105 --- Over/Under: 5
The Florida Panthers look for back to back road wins as they head from Pittsburgh to Buffalo to take on the Sabres at the First Niagara Centre.
The Panthers are on the outside looking in when it comes to the NHL’s Eastern Conference playoff picture and with less than half the season remaining and the Cats sitting in seventh in the Atlantic they are likely going to stay that way. However, for a team that has only won 19 of 49 games they do have some pretty impressive victories on their resume this season including last night’s 5-1 win over the East leading Penguins in Pittsburgh. This marks the second time the Panthers have upended the Pens this season but this time it was a full on waxing as Florida played arguably their best game of the season and certainly sent a message to some of the team’s competing for the final playoff spots that they aren’t going away quietly. Florida is a very young team that has a bright future and a top draft pick would go a long way in helping cement another top prospect but winning right now would also alleviate some of the hardships in Sunrise.
The Sabres meanwhile are hands down the game’s worst team from a standings perspective as they are dead last in the NHL with 33 points but improved play of late has trimmed their deficit significantly and with a couple more victories they could jump out of the league basement. Buffalo more than most has been faced with hardship this season as they have undergone a roster overhaul through the past season and a bit as they have changed coaches, general managers, and captains in that span and with the trade deadline fast looming I wouldn’t be surprised if they are without their franchise goalie before season’s end. Buffalo has a ton of prospects in their system in all facets of the minor leagues and they surely have a bright future but in the meantime they are faced with some tough evenings despite a much improved play of late. This is an interesting position though as they catch a Panthers team playing in a back to back who is primed for a letdown after spanking the Penguins last night and I think Ryan Miller is the difference maker for the Sabres. I like the value on the home team and that’s where I’ll be putting my money.