NHL Tuesday best bets: Sabres to snap skid vs. Canadiens
Tuesday night will be quiet in the NHL, with only two games.
The Sabres enter this contest riding a miserable eight-game losing streak in which they've been outscored by 19 goals.
As crazy as it may sound, they haven't played nearly as poorly as those results would indicate. Their five-on-five expected goal share sits at a respectable 49.45% in that time. They have generated 15.55 xG while conceding 15.89.
Put another way, at five-on-five, they've played their opponents almost exactly even in terms of weighted shots. Their reward for that has been nine goals for and 22 against - a minus-13 differential.
Horrendous goaltending from a poor stable of netminders has played a part in that, no doubt, but the Sabres have also dealt with horrendous luck.
They've scored on just over 5% of their five-on-five shots during this losing skid. They could trot me out on Tage Thompson's wing each night, and that number wouldn't last.
Pucks are going to start going for them sooner rather than later, and this is a nice spot for their luck to turn. The Canadiens have dealt with goaltending issues of their own of late, with Jake Allen and Sam Montembeault combining to stop just over 88% of the shots over the last 10 games.
Montreal isn't a stout defensive team, so goals tend to find its net in bunches when the netminders are struggling. That's good news for the Sabres.
So, too, is the return of blue-liner Mattias Samuelsson. He eats up heavy defensive minutes for the Sabres on a nightly basis and handles himself just fine. Getting him back in the lineup will help Buffalo cut down on the number of looks it's giving up and make life easier on its struggling goaltenders.
Less than a month ago, the Sabres closed -195 against the Canadiens. Now we're looking at close to a pick'em.
The Canadiens haven't become a surprisingly good team in that time, and home ice isn't worth nearly that much. Take advantage of an overcorrection.
Bet: Sabres (-110)
Thompson over 3.5 shots + Doughty under 2.5 (+159)
I love Tage Thompson in this matchup, but there's not as much value as I'd like taking him straight up. Thus, we're getting creative to muster up some additional value by playing Drew Doughty's under. Let's start with Thompson, though.
Thompson has gone over this number in six consecutive games, recording a whopping 37 shots during that stretch. He isn't just hitting four; he's routinely soaring by that number. It isn't a fluke, as Thompson leads the NHL in shot attempts (59) over the last six games. With such crazy volume, he's a real threat to hit every night.
A matchup against a pedestrian Canadiens defense - that also struggles to kill penalties (Tage is the primary shooter) - should only boost his volume. That showed last time these two met as Thompson recorded eight shots on goal.
Now to Doughty. The veteran blue-liner is solid at both ends of the ice and plays a ton of minutes, but there are a couple of things working against him. First and foremost, he doesn't shoot very often. Doughty has registered two shots on goal or fewer in nine of his last 10 games. He hit three in the lone exception, so it's not like he blew by the number.
This doesn't seem like a great spot for Doughty to buck the trend. The Rangers are a strong shot-suppression team that - like Los Angeles - tends to play somewhat low-event hockey. They also give up very little to defensemen. New York allows only 7.79 shots per game to blue-liners, which is one of the best marks in the NHL.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.