Buffalo Sabres (33-35-12) at Tampa Bay Lightning (41-30-10)
|Date & Time||Sunday April 9, 2017, 5:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Tampa Bay Lightning / Buffalo Sabres --- Over/Under:
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning finish off their respective seasons in Florida on Sunday as neither team will make it to this year’s playoffs.
The Sabres look to finish off their disappointing season with a victory against the Lightning but they will be in tough against a Bolts side that went on an absolute tear down the stretch but will ultimately fall a step short thanks to Toronto’s win last night. Buffalo meanwhile was expected to be in the mix for a playoff spot this season as they too are led by a handful of young talent but inconsistent play and a division with four playoff teams has them going back to the drawing board in the offseason as they have some gaping holes to fill. However, the Sabres are only a piece or two away from being a serious threat in the Atlantic division and if they can draw in some free agents this summer they will be a team to watch out for heading into next year. As for tonight though they are likely to end up as a significant road underdog against a frustrated Lightning team.
The Bolts as mentioned went on a ridiculous stretch to finish off the regular season in an attempt to sneak into the playoffs but unfortunately for them they were a game too late as they will fall short of the postseason and will finish off as one of the league’s more disappointing teams in the league this season. Tampa Bay sustained a tough loss early in the season when Steven Stamkos went down with a season ending injury and the play of Tyler Johnson was a little underwhelming but they have a look to forward to as Nikita Kucherov has proven he is a league superstar and with some key pieces returning including goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy I think this team is in very good hands.
The Sabres are 4-1 in their last five in the Atlantic and 10-26 in their last 36 Sunday games while the Lightning are 7-2 in their last nine overall and 9-3 in their last 12 against the Atlantic. This game is meaningless now for the Bolts but with the way they have been playing of late they should have no issues disposing of the Sabres in this one.