Where do we even start with the latest news, stats, and injury reports for the New Jersey Devils-Buffalo Sabres game this Wednesday? If it’s still happening, the visiting Devils are the slight favorites on the NHL betting lines. But with three combined wins in their last 21 games, we’re leaning on the underdog here.
Free-Falling Devils and Sabres Battle For Relevance
Let’s Play “Name That Sabre”
Hardcore Sabres fan test: can you name players that will be dressing up for the game beyond the top lines? Us neither. But at least the team’s best players are still available. The likes of Tage Thompson, Rasmus Dahlin and leading netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen are not listed on the injury report.
Buffalo has two wins in its last ten games and are 0-3-1 at home in this span. The team has been outplayed on 5v5 but its goaltending has been a revolving door prior to Pekka-Luukkonen. The 22-year-old second-round pick has been a revelation in goal this season.
— Die By The Blade (@diebytheblade) December 22, 2021
Pekka-Luukkonen has kept Buffalo in games almost single-handedly, having allowed just one goal on the penalty kill (PK) along with a 93.6% save percentage on even strength. But Buffalo will have to provide more run support (2.4 goals per game) if they are to be a convincing bet online.
Devils Are Crying
New Jersey was 7-3-2 at one point this season. But since then, the Devils have reverted back to being the doormat they were for the previous two seasons and are ripe for forking. The team has won just three of its last 18 games thanks mainly to some historically bad netminding.
The Devils have generally played decent 5v5 hockey and have a solid penalty kill. But its rotating netminders, not unlike Buffalo’s, have been getting lit up. With Jonathan Bernier (hip) out, the team will be relying on Mackenzie Blackwood and his -4.5 goals saved above expectations.
But let’s not cook just the goaltending because the Devils’ power play (PP) has been ice cold, firing at just over 10% during their horrendous 18-game stretch. If this team can’t score on the man advantage and can’t buy a save, why should we be betting on them on the sportsbook?
Devils vs Sabres Head to Head
|26.47%||Power Play %||40.74%|
|59.26%||Penalty Kill %||73.53%|
Devils vs Sabres Game Information
Date: December 29, 2021
Time: 7:00 PM ET
Location: KeyBank Center
New Jersey Devils vs Buffalo Sabres Live Stream: NHL Live
Devils vs Sabres Betting Lines
Devils vs Sabres Prediction
As long as it’s Pekka-Luukkonen in net, we’re leaning on the Sabres to edge this one. The Devils may outplay Buffalo on 5v5, but the disparity in net will be their undoing. Not to mention that Buffalo has a slight edge on special teams even if both of their PK’s.
It would take a stellar outing from Blackwood — or whichever goalie is in the crease for New Jersey — plus a revival of their PP to be siding with them. And as a bonus, Buffalo is the underdog. Bet them or pass.
Pick: Buffalo Sabres +120
It’s true that these teams are struggling mightily on offense, but the shoddy goaltending and sloppy play can lead to unexpected goals. As a bonus, the total has gone over in their last five games in Buffalo. While the line opened at 5½, the over has taken enough action to jump to six, which we’re still comfortable in taking the over.