Buffalo Sabres (14-15-8) at Chicago Blackhawks (23-12-5)
|Date & Time||Thursday January 5, 2017, 8:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Chicago Blackhawks -195 / Buffalo Sabres +175 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Buffalo Sabres look to build on their big road win against the Rangers as they head into the United Center to take on the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Sabres had one of their best outings of the season in their last game as they doubled up on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden and will look for another road win over an Original Six franchise as they take on the Blackhawks on Thursday night. Buffalo was a polarizing team in the preseason as some circles had them as a dark horse to win the East while others thought they were destined for another top end draft pick, and while they are closer to the latter than the former when it comes to the standings I think they are hitting their stride right now and could be a team to watch for the rest of the season. Robin Lehner is expected to get the start as he will face off against Corey Crawford who is back in the Chicago crease after a battle with injuries.
The Blackhawks meanwhile return indoors after a tough outing in the Outdoor Classic at Busch Stadium against the St. Louis Blues but they have a shot at redemption at home in a very winnable game against the Sabres. Chicago dropped the outdoor game by a 4-1 final after scoring the first goal of the game in the very early stages but the Blues outclassed them the rest of the way and perhaps there was some rust from Crawford who had been sidelined for quite a while with an injury. The Hawks have a ton of depth up top and still a very serviceable blue line that will be playing in front of their home fans and with the way things ended in St. Louis I don’t envy the Sabres who could be in for a long night as the Hawks look to rebound.
The Sabres are 5-1 in their last six against the Western Conference and 10-42 in their last 52 against the Central while the Blackhawks are 1-5 in their last six overall and 5-0 in their last five Thursday games. Buffalo played very well against New York but I think the Hawks will be a tough out here as they look to get out of their ugly funk.