NHL Hockey Betting: Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs

NHL Hockey Betting:  Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs were expected to be better this year in the second season of the Mike Babcock regime. They had a year under their new coach plus the top pick in the NHL draft which they parlayed into the #1 center they’ve needed for years–Auston Matthews. Few expected the Leafs–and Matthews–to be this good this fast. Toronto has gone 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and is in a three way tie with Ottawa and Florida for third place in the Atlantic Division. They’ll host the Buffalo Sabres tonight who haven’t played badly but find themselves at the bottom of a very competitive division with a 17-17-9 43 point record. Buffalo is 5-4-1 in their last ten games and have a 7-9-6 record on the road.

And let’s talk about Matthews. He gave notice in his first game as a NHL player that he was going to be a force to be reckoned with scoring four goals. He went on a bit of a slump after that but now that slump is definitely over. Matthews has 21 goals and 37 points and was just named to the NHL All Star team roster. He’s got 35 points in 39 games and is tied for Patrick Laine for the goal scoring lead among rookies. Not bad for a 19 year old from the hockey hotbed of Phoenix, Arizona. The Sabres have their fair share of young talent as well including last year’s #2 pick (behind Connor McJesus) Jack Eichel. Eichel may not ever be the all around player that #97 is becoming but he’s a goal scoring machine and should be good for 30 or 40 goals a season for the next decade plus.

Robin Lehner will get the start in net for the Sabres. Lehner has a 9-12-5 record with a 2.53 goals against average and a 0.921 save percentage. He’ll be opposed by former Anaheim Duck netminder Frederik Andersen who is starting to find his form. Andersen has a 18-9-7 record with a 2.67 goals against average and a 0.919 save percentage. Hard to make a case for Buffalo here, particularly given their 4-11 -6.5 record against divisional rivals. Buffalo is a year or two behind where Toronto is right now and the Leafs should have little trouble dispatching the Sabres.