Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:30 PM EST.
5:05 PM EST. While the Coyotes are hanging out with the Sabres at the bottom of the standings, coach Rick Tocchet's team doesn't seem to be as adept at quitting as their counterparts on the ice tonight. You may remember a game from 2015, in the desert between the Coyotes and Sabres when the race for one of that year's top draft picks was in full force. With Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel at the top of the class tanking wasn't only accepted it was encouraged. There were Sabres jerseys with Coyotes logos taped on the front, and there were Buffalo fans openly celebrating online and in the stands when the 'Yotes got that games' first goal. Arizona won the contest that night, and the Sabres went on to draft Eichel, but three years later, here we are again, as the fortune of both of these franchises hasn't changed much. The Coyotes may have looked like a lock for last place earlier this season, but they have since gone on a run that has seen them go 12-5-2 over their last 19 games. Tocchet has been adamant about not quitting and sticking with the process, and that focused approach is finally yielding results. Situationally, the 'Yotes are coming off a 5-2 home win over Calgary. Tonight is the start of a six-game east coast road trip, which can often be a boost for a team, as it allows them to focus solely on the game while shutting out the distractions of home.
The Sabres were again sellers at the deadline and if this season has proven anything just getting a star in the draft will not automatically turn you into a contender. Just look at the Oilers, who picked McDavid first in 2015, they too will miss the playoff this season. Buffalo is a mess with reports that head coach Phil Housley's message is falling on deaf ears. The Sabres cannot confidently send anyone out to stop a puck at this point, which makes it so tough as a player when you know the next shot your opponent takes will likely end up in the back of your net. A 4-0 loss to Nashville highlighted that deficiency in goal spectacularly, as that lopsided score flattered the Preds. The fact it played so well and got so little has to be eating away at Buffalo. With that huge game with Nashville behind them, this contest with the Coyotes looks like a big let down spot. The Sabres have a pair of high profile games with the Canadiens and Rangers coming in for a back-to-back on Friday and Saturday night. This one-off with Arizona might not be anything more than a glorified optional skate. We'll gladly take back a price with the superior squad, that is in better form, with a huge advantage between the pipes.
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Arizona +100 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.00)