Thursday POWER-SMASH ~ ***ROUT ALERT***
Buffalo vs. Pittsburgh,
10/03/2019 19:00 EDT,
Score: 3 - 1
Money Line: -163 Pittsburgh
8* Pittsburgh (7:05 ET): Surprisingly, Buffalo took two of the three head to head meetings w/ Pittsburgh last season. It's surprisingly because the Sabres finished w/ only 76 points, well out of playoff contention, while the Penguins were a solid playoff team that finished w/ 100 points. Now it did end up being a quick postseason exit for the Pens as they got swept by the Islanders. But that ending to the year should have them motivated as they are set to hit the ice for the first time in 2019. This should be an easy two points for the home team Thursday night.
The longest postseason drought in the league belongs to Buffalo, who has not made it in eight years. Our projections have them sitting out a ninth straight year. While they have Jack Eichel, the roster remains shallow and there's really nothing from the offseason to indicate any kind of significant improvement is on the horizon. Only two teams - Ottawa and New Jersey - had fewer road wins last year. They hired a 60-year old coach (Ralph Krueger) that has been out of the league for six years.
There was some concern over Sidney Crosby's status for the opener, but the Penguins superstar will be on the ice Thursday as his foot checked out just fine. He was hit by the puck in the final preseason game (which was against Buffalo). On the topic of "concern," we expect Evgeni Malkin to bounce back from a career-worst year in 2018-19 (just 21 points). The offseason swap of Kessel for Galchenyuk should end up being a net positive. Give us Matt Murray over Carter Hutton in the battle of goalies in this one. Hutton had a horrible 4-20 SU record in road starts last year for Buffalo. 8* Pittsburgh