Buffalo continues its Western adventure Thursday night with a game against the Los Angeles Kings.
The Sabres stunned the San Jose Sharks in game 1 of this three-stop tour Tuesday night with a 5-4 shootout win. It was Buffalo’s first win in five games and improved the team’s road record to 3-5. They are still winless at home. Buffalo was a massive 3 to 1 underdog vs. the Sharks and their five-goal effort had trimmed those NHL odds for tonight’s contest but Los Angeles is still costing bettors in the neighborhood of -260, competing with Boston (vs. Florida) as top moneyline hockey favorite from the online sportsbook board.
Buffalo followed a familiar pattern at San Jose, falling behind 1-0 through the first period and our top NHL prediction tonight is that the Kings could also grab an early lead. The Sabres are last in first period scoring with just two goals all season during the opening frame and 21 against. Los Angeles ranks sixth in first period scoring with 15 goals for and while they are not quite as effective as the Sharks at shutting teams down (LA ranks 15th in this department), the upset win by Buffalo gives us confidence that Darryl Sutter’s team will start strong.
In its first five home games this season LA outscored opponents 10-2 during the first but then in the two most recent games against San Jose and Nashville the Kings trailed 2-1 through 20 minutes both times. We already mentioned how well the Sharks do in the first frame and Nashville isn’t too shabby either (15 GF, 9 GA) but these Sabres can be hit hard. Los Angeles has the second most regular season home wins in the NHL since 2011 (Chicago) and we look for them to establish that advantage right from the opening faceoff.
Jhonas Enroth will start for the Swords and Jonathan Quick has been confirmed for the Kings. The first period moneyline odds are -220 but if you lay the half-goal the books are offering back plus-money and we’re booking this as one of our rare NHL Best Bets.
Tonight’s NHL Best Bet is to lay the half-goal on Los Angeles (+125) in the first period