Buffalo Sabres (33-35-12) at Florida Panthers (33-36-11)
|Date & Time||Saturday April 8, 2017, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Florida Panthers -130 / Buffalo Sabres +110 --- Over/Under: 5.5
The Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers play out the string on their respective regular seasons as neither team will be competing for this year’s Stanley Cup.
The Sabres look to finish off their regular season with back to back victories over the weekend as they kick things off with a date in Sunrise against the Panthers on Saturday night. Buffalo came into the season expected to make some noise in the Atlantic division but instead they are back in the mix for a top end draft pick and are left scratching their heads wondering where things went wrong this season as they do have the pieces to be a playoff team in the Eastern Conference. Buffalo will turn to sophomore sensation Jack Eichel in the team’s final weekend of the season and he is more than capable of giving his team four points and provide some confidence to the team’s fan base heading into the offseason that they can bounce back in 2017-18.
The Panthers meanwhile have been one of the league’s biggest disappointments this season as they have gone from a trendy dark horse pick in the Eastern Conference to one of the league bottom feeders and they have a ton of work to do in the offseason. Florida does have a nice crop of young players at both ends of the ice as Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad, and Aaron Ekblad will be a part of the team’s future plans for a long time but the vets on the roster, namely Jaromir Jagr, continue to cloud the direction this team is heading as they are not quite in a rebuild mode but appear to be moving away from a win-now type of lineup. As for tonight, they are hoping to put it all together against a Sabres team that struggles on the road but has shown on when the lights are brightest on the NHL’s marquee night of the week.
The Sabres are 4-1 in their last five against the Atlantic and 7-2 in their last nine Saturday games while the Cats are winless in their last five against the Atlantic and 5-17 in their last 22 overall. Florida has played their way out of the playoffs over the last month and a half and there is no reason to believe they will turn it around here as Buffalo gets a big win on the road.