The New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres will close down a two-game set at KeyBank Center in Buffalo on Tuesday night, so I’ve prepared the best NHL betting pick for this East Division showdown along with the latest odds on DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Islanders and Sabres opened their eight-game regular-season series last night, and New York beat Buffalo 3-1 as a -125 road fave. This time, the Islanders are -130 favorites, while the hosts sit at +118 to win straight up.
New York nearly has a clean bill of health with only RW Anthony Beauvillier on the shelf. Buffalo, on the other side, has six players on the COVID-19 list, but defensemen Jake McCabe and Brandon Montour might return Tuesday.
The Islanders started a four-game road trip on the right foot
The New York Islanders (7-4-3) split their last two games prior to Monday’s clash in Buffalo, suffering a 4-3 shootout loss to Pittsburgh and beating Boston 4-2. Monday’s win was their fourth in the last five outings, so Barry Trotz can be pleased with his team’s current form.
The Islanders stormed the front last night and built a 2-0 lead late in the first period thanks to Anders Lee and Jean-Gabriel Pageau. After a couple of power-play goals in the second period, the Islanders put on a strong defensive job in the final third, while Semyon Varlamov finished with 20 saves, all through the first two periods.
New York owns the fifth-best defense in the NHL, yielding just 2.46 goals per game. Varlamov has been terrific thus far, posting a 7-2-2 record with an excellent 1.89 GAA and a .931 save percentage. The Islanders tally 2.46 goals per game (25th in the NHL), recording the seventh-worst shot percentage of 8.2, while center Mathew Barzal leads the way with six goals and nine assists in 14 games.
The Sabres returned from a long absence
The Buffalo Sabres (4-5-2) had to postpone six games due to the COVID-19 issues, so Monday’s tilt against the Islanders was their first in more than two weeks. Ralph Krueger’s boys took 12 shots in the first period, but they were down 2-0 at the end of it.
The Sabres cut the deficit in the second, as winger Victor Olofsson netted his fifth goal of the season. However, after the Islanders scored their third goal midway through the second period, the Sabres’ game completely fell apart.
Linus Ullmark patrolled the crease last night, allowing three goals on 29 shots. He’s 3-2-2 on the season and owns a solid 2.63 GAA with a .912 save percentage, while the Sabres are 21st in the league in goals against (3.10). Buffalo scores 2.80 goals per contest (20th), and Olofsson leads the way with five goals and six assists through 11 appearances.
- 4-1 in the last five games overall
- 9-2 in the last 11 games against Buffalo
- 5-13 in the last 18 games overall
- 2-5 in the last seven home games
The Islanders are well-known for their firm, physical defense, so I’m backing them to beat the COVID-19-depleted Sabres. We saw a solid overall performance last night, and the Islanders should have enough fuel in their tank for Tuesday’s clash.
The Sabres will be short-handed once more. Their top-notch forwards are ready to go, but the hosts will miss a few very important defensemen.
Pick: Take New York at -130
The under is 5-1 in the last six meetings between the Islanders and Sabres, 11-5 in New York’s last 16 games overall, and 6-3-1 in Buffalo’s previous ten outings on the home ice.
I’m always expecting the under when the Islanders take the ice, so this one’s a no-brainer. The Sabres have a slightly better shot percentage than New York (8.7%), while both teams are in the top-12 in the league when it comes to penalty killing.
Pick: Go under 5.5 goals at -120