Unfortunately last night’s pick completely missed the mark. Our theory going into that contest was that the Bruins were the NHL’s top defensive club while Henrik Lundqivst was coming off one of his best performances of the season after some shaky outings, so we assumed he was going to be back in form. While the Bruins held their end of the bargain, Lundqvist did not as he was shelled for four goals on 16 shots before getting the hook. The Bruins would end up walloping the Rangers by a 6-1 score, continuing their unbelievable stretch of hockey. We have no problem putting that one behind us as we have five Free NHL Picks for you tonight with our write-up featuring the Islanders vs. Sabres.
Season Record: 69-56
Islanders vs. Sabres NHL Pick – February 8th
OUR PICK: OVER 5.5 (-130) *Risking 1.30 units to win 1 unit*
The Sabres look to snap a four-game losing streak tonight as they welcome Hart Trophy candidate John Tavares and the New York Islanders to town.
After a stretch of four games where they scored just five goals, the Islanders got their offensive groove back over their last two games, scoring a combined eight goals against two solid defensive clubs in the Blue Jackets and Predators. I am looking for more offense from Tavares and co. tonight as the Islanders take on one of the league’s worst defenses in Buffalo. After scoring four in each of their last two games, the Isles rank third in the NHL with 3.30 goals per game while their 3.07 goals per game on the road checks in at fifth. Although Anders Lee has moved down to the second line, the Islanders top three point-getters litter the NHL’s league leader. Both Lee and Tavares have 27 goals apiece which is the fourth highest mark in the NHL while Josh Bailey and his 44 assist are the third most in the league. There is no doubt the Islanders’ top six is set to give a weak and thin Sabres’ back end fits tonight. Buffalo will be without two of their top six defensemen in Jake McCabe and Zack Bogosian for tonight’s contest. As good as New York has been up front, they’ve been quite brutal on the back end. They rank dead last in terms of overall defense with 3.63 goals against per game, a figure that increases slightly to 3.68 on the road. Jaroslav Halak gets the nod tonight for New York as he carries a 3.20 GAA and a .910 Sv% into tonight’s contest.
Although the Sabres’ offense checks in dead last in the league, their upside increases tonight with the Islanders in town. The Islanders have surrendered at least three goals in nine of their last ten games and have averaged 3.70 goals against per game during that stretch. They’ve also given up at least four goals in six of their last ten. Scoring depth has clearly been an issue for the Sabres, but Jack Eichel is set to shine tonight. Despite not much support around him, the superstar pivot has posted 51 points in 53 games this season on 194 shots. His right winger Sam Reinhart pas posted ten points over his last nine games. The Islanders’ blueline is also beat up with Calvin de Haan, Johnny Boychuk and now Scott Mayfield all sidelined with various ailments. This is a nice opportunity for the Sabres’ offense to build off their three-goal effort in their last game against the Ducks.
With both defenses looking thin and ranking in the bottom four of the entire league, we like the chances for offense tonight. We have bought a half goal here as the total is 6 at -105, but we want the win, not the push, should the game see six goals scored tonight. Go with the OVER 5.5 and enjoy the offense.
ISLANDERS (-115) @ BUF
WILD -1.5 (+115) VS. ARI
LIGHTNING -1.5 (+110) VS. VAN
STARS (-120) @ CHI