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Time For Some Sabre Rattling?
When they drafted Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel, that was supposed to be the turning point. When they traded for Ryan O’Reilly and Evander Kane, these were the moves that were allegedly the final pieces of the puzzle that would move the Buffalo Sabres up among the NHL’s elite class.
Instead, while teams like Chicago, Pittsburgh, Edmonton and Toronto have proven able to fall to the basement and rebuild through the draft, the Sabres continue to be bottom feeders.
Off to another dismal start, the 3-5-2 Sabres travel to Columbus to face the Blue Jackets in the second game of back to backs, generally a recipe for disaster… A look at this game, as well as the visit of the Calgary Flames to St. Louis, based on odds offered by TopBet.
Buffalo finally got off the snide at home on Tuesday, posting a 1-0 triumph over the equally inept Red Wings. Benoit Pouliot scored the lone goal in that one, his second goal of the season and second in as many games, important tallies for a Sabres club seeking to locate some secondary scoring. Coupled with Saturday’s 5-4 OT win at Boston, it’s Buffalo’s first winning streak of the season.
Perhaps the Sabres can look to the Blue Jackets for motivation. Long an NHL doormat, the Blue Jackets challenged for the Presidents’ Trophy last season and moved among the NHL’s top teams. Lately, though, it’s not going well for Columbus. The Blue Jackets have lost two straight, both on home ice on the front half of a four-game homestand, and were outscored 8-4 in those two games.
Columbus coach John Tortorella is swapping his top two centers for this game, Marcus Foligno will play between Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson on the top line, while struggling Alexander Wennberg drops down to the second unit with Boone Jenner and Oliver Bjorkstrand. The Blue Jackets have lost fourth-line center Lukas Sedlak for 4-6 weeks to an ankle injury. One of either Zac Dalpe or Pierre-Luc Dubois are likely to fill Sedlak’s spot.
Pick: The Blue Jackets (-220)
Even with Tuesday’s third-period rally to record a 3-2 shootout win over the Predators at Nashville, the Flames have lost three of five, and have been outscored 12-3 in those losses while going two-for-19 on the power play over the last five games.
Training camp is a valuable tool to prepare a player for the season but it’s vital when you are 45 years old. Flames RW Jaromir Jagr, signed as a free agent just prior to the start of the regular season, was placed in injured reserve Tuesday with a lower body injury.
Injured Saturday against the Minnesota Wild, Jagr is expected to miss a week. He’d only got into the lineup a week ago but was skating on Calgary’s top forward line with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. The Flames recalled forward Mark Jankowski from AHL Stockton to fill the void. Jankowski posted 5-3-8 numbers in six games with Stockton.
The Blues are 2-1-1 in their last four games and are a perfect 2-0 at the Savvis Center this season, with a goal differential of 9-4 on home ice. With 6-7-13 totals, Blues forward Jaden Schwartz is the only Western Conference player among the NHL’s top six scorers.
Looking for a boost in their bottom six forwards, the Blues have recalled veteran NHL RW Beau Bennett from AHL Chicago. The Blues are a dismal 24th in the NHL on the power play 14.29 percent) and an even worse 27th overall on the penalty kill (73.7 percent).
Pick: The Blues (-110)
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