NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Hurricanes vs. Sabres (February 1)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Hurricanes vs. Sabres (February 1)

Updated: 1 month, 19 days, 3 hours, 11 minutes, 3 seconds ago

Hurricanes vs. Sabres Odds Hurricanes Odds -162 Sabres Odds +134 Over/Under 6.5 (-115/-105) Time 7:30 p.m. ET TV TNT Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

It’s nearly NHL All-Star Weekend. But before the attention shifts to the fun and frivolity in South Florida, there are two final regular-season games on Wednesday’s schedule.

And the Buffalo Sabres have something big to play for. They’ll be looking to muscle their way into a wild-card playoff spot when they host the red-hot Carolina Hurricanes at KeyBank Center.

Here’s the latest on both sides, and your best bet for Wednesday’s game.

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Carolina Hurricanes

While most of the teams in the NHL are already into their All-Star Break, the Hurricanes will be playing their third game in four nights. But they’re coming in hot — riding a six-game winning streak, unbeaten in regulation in their last nine, and having erased a 4-1 two-period deficit to beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 in overtime on home ice on Tuesday.

At 16-4-6, the Hurricanes boast the NHL’s second-best road record behind the New Jersey Devils (19-3-2). They also lead the league in expected goals share at 5-on-5 by a significant margin, at 59.85%.

In net, Frederik Andersen posted 17 saves to deliver the win against the Kings on Tuesday, so expect Antti Raanta to get the nod against Buffalo. Though Raanta’s save percentage for the season is an uninspiring .897, his record is a very solid 12-2-3.

And Raanta has been sharp in his two appearances since returning from an upper-body injury which caused him to miss three games in mid-January, giving up three goals while securing two wins in just over 100 minutes of game action.

In other injury news, key defenseman Jaccob Slavin missed his fifth game on Tuesday with a lower-body injury that’s described as day-to-day. This close to the All-Star Break, and with the Canes continuing their winning ways, it seems unlikely that he’d be rushed back into the lineup on Wednesday.

Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo hits home ice after a 3-0-1 road trip, with the only blemish coming in a 3-2 shootout loss in Minnesota on Saturday. Like the Hurricanes, the Sabres are also going through a hot stretch. They’re 5-0-2 in their last seven games and haven’t lost in regulation since Jan. 16.

And while Buffalo remains the highest-scoring team in the NHL, averaging 3.76 goals per game, it’s the defensive play that has been the linchpin of the team’s recent success.

Riding a three-goalie rotation, both graybeard Craig Anderson (6.0) and promising rookie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (4.8) have positive goals saved above expected ratings. Eric Comrie lags behind, and has seen just two starts in the month of January. But he also played well in his last outing, when the Sabres edged the Jets 3-2 in Winnipeg on Jan. 26.

As of Tuesday night, there’s no word yet on who gets the start against the very good Hurricanes team on Wednesday. But with the Sabres allowing three goals or less in all of their last six games, they’ve been giving themselves a chance to win every night.

On the injury front, Buffalo has been somewhat shorthanded lately, with forwards Dylan Cozens and Tage Thompson and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson all dealing with minor issues. Thompson missed practice on Monday but hasn’t missed any games, and all three were on the ice for practice on Tuesday. It’s likely that the home side will be at full strength against Carolina.

Hurricanes vs. Sabres Pick

The Hurricanes are one of the NHL’s elite squads this season, and hold a 1-0 edge in their season series against the Sabres after a 5-3 win on home ice back on Nov. 4.

But the Sabres have also been playing well, are on home ice in front of a fanbase that’s starting to buy in, and will be the better-rested team. They’re coming off three days’ rest while the Hurricanes will be playing their third game in four nights, with Tuesday night travel, and had to put the pedal to the metal to come back and salvage their two points against Los Angeles.

Also, a win would allow Buffalo to leapfrog Pittsburgh and settle into the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference over the all-star break. To seize that positioning by beating a top team like Carolina would be icing on the cake.

The Canes are so good that on many nights, they’ll still win even if they’re not at their very best. But Wednesday night should feature a motivated Sabres group that won’t simply be going through the motions as they count down the hours till their midseason vacation.

It could be a low-event game, so the under at -105 on FanDuel is worth a look. There’s also good value to be had on Buffalo’s moneyline, which sits at +134 on Tuesday night.

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