After no games on Tuesday, Wednesday brings a full slate of NHL games. Over in the Eastern Conference, the Buffalo Sabres will be looking for their second consecutive win when they visit Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena in DC. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 PM EST. Buffalo just beat Connor Bedard's Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night by a score of 3-2, moving one step closer to reaching .500 on the season. Washington meanwhile is red-hot, winning four straight and taking down the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. They come into this matchup well-rested. Below, find the Sabres vs Capitals picks.
Sabres vs Capitals Odds
The Capitals are the favorite with moneyline odds of -124 while the Sabres return at +110. Washington is also laying 1.5 on the puck line. The total in goals is set at 6.5. However, Buffalo has absolutely dominated the Caps in recent memory, winning three in a row. That includes 4-3 victories in back-to-back matchups.
Buffalo Needs More Scoring
It's been a while since the Sabres were a legit team. The last time they made the playoffs was in 2011. In other words, this franchise is far from elite. At the moment, there's nothing saying Buffalo is going to break that drought in 2023-24. The Sabres are sixth in the Atlantic Division with an 8-9-1 record and haven't really shined in any particular area.
Buffalo is scoring just 2.83 goals per game, which ranks 23rd in the league. They're also towards the bottom of the NHL in shots on goal and power play percentage. To put their struggles in front of goal into perspective, no player has more than eight goals and that's Jeff Skinner. While there are numerous guys with their fair share of assists, the Sabres do not have enough lethal finishers. On a more positive note, Rasmus Dahlin was very impressive in the Blackhawks win, scoring once and tallying two assists to lead the way. Erik Johnson and Skinner both found the back of the net as well.
Defensively, the Sabres are a bit better, allowing 3.17 goals per contest. Their penalty kill percentage also sits at 85.3, which is top-10 in the NHL. If it wasn't for their blue line, Buffalo would likely have a much worse record. But in order to actually be a contender in the Atlantic Division, this squad needs to start making it happen a lot more in front of net. It's that simple. The Sabres are 4-4-1 on the road this season.
Capitals Hot Right Now
Washington is off to a great start after missing the playoffs in 2022-23. They own a 9-4-2 record and sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division and will be searching for a fifth straight victory come Tuesday. The Caps just beat the Devils, Golden Knights, Islanders, and Blue Jackets. The win over Vegas was definitely the most impressive considering the score was 3-0.
Ovi made some history on Saturday against Columbus, scoring his 827th career goal. He's now only 67 behind Wayne Gretzky. Hendrix Lapierre was the star of the show for Washington in this one though, scoring once and supplying a pair of assists. While the Capitals were outshot 36-26, they made the most of their opportunities. Johnny Gaudreau scored the opener in the second period but DC responded with three goals before the first ended. The Jackets scored a couple in the third but Lapierre's goal around the six-minute mark proved to be the difference-maker.
Washington is now 8-1-1 in their last 10 outings and has actually had a similar issue with scoring. They rank 31st in the league with a mere 2.47 goals per game. But if this current winning streak is any indication, perhaps better days are ahead. The Capitals have scored four goals in three of these four games. Ovi's five goals and seven assists are a team-best, while Dylan Strome's seven goals lead the team. Defensively the blue line is rock-solid, conceding just 2.67 goals per night.
Sabres vs Capitals Picks
Although the Capitals are surging, Washington is clearly a team that Buffalo thrives against. I'll take the Sabres moneyline. They will end the Caps' unbeaten run.
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