By Greg Dempson
For the first time in the history of the Super Bowl we watched two overall number one draft picks face one another as Peyton Manning was under center for Denver while Cam Newton was calling snaps for Carolina. What we saw was a game that was decided on defense as neither quarterback posted super numbers, especially Newton.
There will be another first this evening and I’m hoping that defense will rule once again and the goalies will shine vs. the offense. Tonight the first overall pick in the recent NHL draft, Connor McDavid, faces the number two overall selection, Jack Eichel for the first time in their careers.
The puck drops at 7:30 ET at the First Niagara Center as the Edmonton Oilers face the Buffalo Sabres for the second time this season. Edmonton won the first meeting on December 6th, by a score of (4–2,) but McDavid was out of the line-up.
From the Press Box
· Buffalo’s rookie Eichel is mired in a slump as he has not scored in six games and is –15 during that span.
· The Oilers have lost forward Benoit Pouliot, who had matched his career high with 36 points, when he suffered a potential season ending shoulder injury on Sunday during the Oilers 3–1 win vs. the Islanders.
· Buffalo traded Jamie McGinn to the Ducks at the trade line, McGinn had 27 points, 14 of which were goals.
· Edmonton and Buffalo are 3–6 to the under in their last nine meetings in Buffalo as well 1–5–2 to the under at the Niagara Center plus 4–9–4 to the under in their last 17 games when playing at either venue.
· The Sabres have powered out with their power play converting on only 3 out of 28 opportunities in the last eight games including 0 for 7 on their recent road trip.
· Tonight’s goalies haven’t been confirmed as of this report but with each projected starter coming off rest, I’m anticipating that Talbot and Lehner will be between the pipes tonight.
· Talbot is 0–4 to the under in his last four starts while the team is 0–5 to the under in their last five games. Talbot’s save percentage on the road in 20 games, (18 starts,) is 91.3% plus his save percentage is 95.3% in his last three starts.
· Lehner is 4–10–1 to the under in 15 games with a save percentage of 93.1% plus in his last four starts he’s allowed 7 goals and his save percentage is an impressive 94.7%. He made 61 saves while surrendering only three goals in two shutout defeats last week, (1–0 and 2–0.)
· In Lehner’s 4 starts vs. non conference foes he is 0–4 to the under with a save percentage of 95.5% while stopping 128 out of 134 shots allowing an average of 1.5 GPG in those four contests.
· Edmonton is 1–5–1 to the under when facing a team with a winning percentage of less than .400.
· Buffalo has allowed 2 goals or less in six of their last seven games and I note the Sabres are 16–34–13 to the under in their next game after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous contest.
· From February 13 until the 28th Edmonton has scored 14 goals in 8 games while allowing 38 in that span, (4.75 GPP average.)
· Since February 15 until February 27th Buffalo has scored 15 goals in 7 games while allowing only 11 in that span, (3.70 GPP average.)
· Recent form suggest an average of 4.23 goals from February 13/14 through until February 27/28.
· In Edmonton’s last three games they lost 2–1 at New Jersey, 2–1 at the LA Kings as well as 2–1 at Anaheim.
Edmonton at Buffalo Pick
My Every Edge selection is for the Oilers and Sabres to stay under 5 goals at +105.