Winnipeg Jets (10-9-3) at Buffalo Sabres (6-13-2)
|Date & Time||Wednesday November 26, 2014, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Buffalo Sabres +134 / Winnipeg Jets -147 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+. Start your 7-day FREE trial today!|
Don’t look now but the Buffalo Sabres are actually playing some good hockey. After a 3-13-2 start to the season the Sabres have now won three consecutive games heading into their match up on Wednesday night with the Winnipeg Jets. One thing that was certain was that head coach Ted Nolan was going to get the most out of his club. Nolan has always been a coach that has done a great job of developing young hockey teams and teaching them what it takes to win and be professional. Right now the biggest key for the Sabres moving forward is how they can control play a little bit more than they have been. Buffalo is currently last in the National Hockey League, averaging just 23.2 shots per game. The Sabres are also last in shots allowed, giving up just under 37 per game. That’s obviously not a recipe for success and Saturday night the Sabres needed their goaltender Jhonas Enroth to bail them out. The 26 year old Swedish netminder stopped 43 shots and absolutely stole a 2-1 win from the Washington Capitals. Matt Moulson scored his third goal of the season in the second period and Torrey Mitchell’s goal late in the third period gave the Sabres the lead for good. After Wednesday night’s match up with the Jets the Sabres play consecutive home-and-home series with the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning, two teams atop the Atlantic Division standings. There are much better times ahead for the Sabres but for the foreseeable future things are going to be tough. Credit to Nolan and the players who have been able to persevere and find ways to win some hockey games recently, but unless their possession numbers start to change it’s still going to be extremely difficult to find points on their schedule.
Winnipeg hasn’t been playing well heading into this match up, losers of four of their last five games before playing on Tuesday night in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. The Jets are once again having troubles offensively, and without some personnel moves it’s hard to see how that changes any time soon. Winnipeg is 28th in the league in goals scored, scoring just 43 goals in their first 22 games. The Jets have only allowed 49 goals, good for ninth in the league, but it’s hard to win in today’s NHL if you can’t put the puck in the net on a consistent basis. Evander Kane has struggled to find his offensive game since returning from injury. The winger has just two goals and six points on the season. Paul Maurice certainly has his hands full in his first season in Manitoba and a loss to the lowly Sabres on Wednesday night would just make things worse. It’s hard to see the Jets making any noise in the Western Conference this season but the organization needs to figure out how they’re going to move forward and begin building a playoff caliber team. The odds of Kane staying in Winnipeg seem slim and there will always be the difficulties of getting players to sign with them. Right now this is just a mediocre hockey club that needs to play extremely well to beat the better teams in the league.
It’s hard to see the Sabres continuing to win games if they get dominated in the possession battle like on Saturday. Still, this is a home game against a Jets team that is playing the second night of a back-to-back and hasn’t played all that well this season.