The Sabres travel to Sunrise, Florida for a date with the Panthers in what could be the biggest game of the 2022-23 NHL regular season. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. EST.
The Sabres enter tonight winners of four of its last five games. Buffalo sits with a 37-31-7 record (81 points) in 75 games and are very much back alive in the Eastern Conference Wild Card hunt. The Sabres are four points behind Florida with two games in hand, five points behind Pittsburgh with two games in hand and six points behind the New York Islanders with three games in hand. With a regulation win tonight, Buffalo is officially in the middle of the playoff push with less than seven games remaining.
Buffalo is led in scoring by Tage Thompson who has tallied 89 points and 44 goals in 72 games. Alex Tuch and Jeff Skinner are both over 30 goals this season as Tuch has netted 35 and Skinner has netted 33. The pair also have each tallied more than 70 points with Skinner at 73 and Tuch at 72. Rasmus Dahlin (67) and Dylan Cozens (62) round out Buffalo’s top five producers. It will be interesting to see who the Sabres turn to in net tonight. Rookie Devon Levi impressed in his NHL debut last Friday allowing two goals against the New York Rangers in a win. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has been playing well as of late an carries a 17-11-4 record, 3.61 goals against average and .892 save percentage into tonight’s game.
The Panthers have won three straight games following a late-March skid. Florida enters tonight with a 39-31-7 record (85 points) in 77 games. The Cats sit four points ahead of the Sabres but have played two more games. Florida is chasing both Pittsburgh and the Islanders. The team is one point behind the Penguins with the same amount of games played and two points behind New York with one game in hand. Any points for the Panthers here would be massive.
Florida is led offensively by Matthew Tkachuk who has notched 102 points and 38 goals this season. Carter Verhaeghe leads the team in goals with 40 while also putting up 70 points. Aleksander Barkov (71 points), Brandon Montour (65) and Sam Reinhart (62) fill out the Panther top five. Alex Lyon will get the start in net tonight with Sergei Bobrovsky dealing with an illness. Lyon is 6-3-1 with a 3.24 GAA and an .899 SV% in 10 games this season.
The Panthers had dominated the Sabres winning six straight meetings until the last time these teams played in February where Buffalo finally broke the losing streak. Tonight’s projected starting goaltenders are Lyon for Florida and TBD for Buffalo.
Prediction: Buffalo Sabres 5, Florida Panthers 4
This game is going to be extremely entertaining and should bring a ton of offense. Both these teams are going to be playing desperate and the game will have a playoff atmosphere to it. I give the edge to Buffalo as the better offensive team, scoring almost four goals per game.
Odds Presented By Betfred Sportsbook
Spread – Buffalo Sabres +1.5 (-150) / Florida Panthers -1.5 (+130)
Moneyline – Buffalo Sabres +160 / Florida Panthers -190
Total – 7.0 – Over (-120) / Under (-100)
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