The Buffalo Sabres are off to their best 10-game start since 2019, The Sabres haven’t made the playoffs since the 2010-2011 campaign but a promising start has upstate New York hockey fans salivating over playoff hockey returning to the area.
The Sabres are 7-3 and have been led by their offensive attack. Buffalo is second in the NHL in goals per game (4.3) and first in shot percentage, at 12.99%. The Sabres may not be able to sustain those numbers, but it’s certainly encouraging for fans to see.
We’ll look at who’s been producing, and what the Sabres odds are to make the playoffs for the first time in 12 years.
Whose Shined So Far?
The offensive prowess of this team hasn’t been led by just one player. Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin have each accounted for 14 points, while Victor Olofsson is the team’s leading goal scorer, with 8. Jeff Skinner is continuing to produce in his fifth season in Buffalo, accounting for 10 points. Right Winger Alex Tuch buried the game-winning goal in the come-from-behind win against Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Tuch has been impressive in his first year in Buffalo and is on pace to shatter his career record for points in a season.
2021 first-overall pick, Owen Power, is off to a solid start to the season. So far, the defenseman has 5 assists, including the one that helped tie the game in the third period against the Penguins. Power is racking up huge ice time this year, an amount that puts him as the NHL leader in the category among rookies. Power is a good value bet for the Calder Trophy. You can find his odds at +2000 for the top rookie award on FanDuel.
Eric Comrie has looked shaky at times in his 7 appearances in net this season. He’s given up at least 3 goals in 6 of his 7 starts but did have a career-high in saves in a win over the Oilers.
41-year-old Craig Anderson is the team’s backup goaltender. Anderson has looked solid in net and the Sabres have won all 3 of the games in which he’s started. Anderson is a veteran, whose presence and play will be huge if the Sabres plan on returning to the playoffs this year. In the meantime, they’ll need Comrie to improve on his shot-stopping.
Sabres Chances of Making the Playoffs
Even with the excitement in Buffalo, NY sportsbooks still have the Sabres as long-shots to make the playoffs. FanDuel is giving them the longest odds at +235. On DraftKings, you can take the Sabres to make the playoffs for +220 odds, which gives them a 31.2% chance of returning to the postseason. These odds are fairly high for a 7-3 team, but they’ve been able to cut them in half since the start of the season. The Sabres started the season with +500 odds to make the playoffs.
The long odds have a lot to do with where the Sabres find themselves. The Eastern Conference is stacked with the likes of the Bruins, Lightning, Maple Leafs, Panthers, Hurricanes, Rangers, and Penguins. Each of these teams came into the season with Stanley Cup aspirations. The Sabres have yet to prove themselves in this field but will be looking to do so this year.
Buffalo’s hot start isn’t completely unprecedented. They finished last season with a 16-9-3 record, which gave fans something to be excited about. The Sabres have been able to take down talented teams, which include Edmonton and Pittsburgh, but there will be more tests to come.
Buffalo will take on the Carolina Hurricanes tonight from PNC arena in Carolina. Craig Anderson will be getting his fourth start of the season in what will be another tough test for this Sabres team that is riding a 3 game-winning streak.
After Carolina, Buffalo will head to Tampa to complete a back-to-back with the reigning Eastern Conference champions.
We’re still early in the season, but if Buffalo gets a couple more wins against quality opponents we could see their odds to make the playoffs shift drastically. It may be a good time to take advantage of the plus money.
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