Buffalo Sabres (14-24-3) at Tampa Bay Lightning (26-12-4)
|Date & Time||Friday January 9, 2015, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Tampa Bay Lightning -425 / Buffalo Sabres +367 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Sabres look to avoid losing their seventh game in a row as they continue their road trip in Tampa to face the Atlantic leading Lightning.
The Buffalo Sabres were expected to struggle this season and while they showed signs of life at times they are in a complete funk at the moment and are playing like the team many expected them to be. Buffalo does have some nice pieces but they are almost certainly going to be moved as management and ownership looks to continue a full blown rebuild and getting some draft picks and prospects in return for guys who may flee the city soon anyway isn't a bad idea for GM Tim Murray. The Sabres sit in last place in the Atlantic division and were embarassed last night by the Eastern Conference doormats from Carolina and heading into tonight's game they sit just four points up on the Edmonton Oilers for the worst record in hockey. The Sabres will look to stop the bleeding and will turn to Jhonas Enroth but against a high flying Lightning team that is coming off a very impressive win in Montreal doesn't seem like the best situation for Buffalo's losing to come to an end.
The Lightning are the class of the Eastern Conference at the moment and are just two points off the pace set by the Ducks for the league lead and with the way they have been playing this season it would come as no surprise to see them win the President's Trophy and claim the top seed in the East. Tampa is loaded offensively but it has been the play of their defense and goaltending that has pushed them over the edge as Ben Bishop has been brilliant and the likes of Victor Hedman are coming into their own on the blue line and as such this team has the parts to go deep in the playoffs. Tampa Bay is 15-4-1 at home this season and they are 7-2-1 in their last 10 contests so pitting them against one of the worst teams in hockey is almost unfair. The line in this one is not only one of the most lopsided I have ever seen it could very well be the chalkiest money line you will see in the NHL this season and the only way to approach this is to hammer the total or the puck line. For our sake here I will stick with the puck line as I think the onslaught continues and Tampa wins big.