The Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres have both enjoyed hot streaks throughout the early part of the season but both have also come apart at the seams a little bit in recent games. On Friday night, both teams will try to get back on track with a win.

The Sens have lost four straight and are having trouble scoring without captain Daniel Alfredsson in the lineup. One of those defeats was a shoutout loss to Buffalo last Saturday. Meanwhile, the Sabres have at least been winning but they have some burgeoning concerns about their defense and between the pipes as goaltender Ryan Miller has allowed 15 goals in his last four outings (6.42 GAA). 

Buffalo SabresIf Miller is in net again, there could be some value with the Senators but if it’s Jhonas Enroth, then this is a good spot to play the Sabres.

Sportsbooks released their NHL odds with the Sabres listed as the -185 favorite. Early NHL betting action has since extended the line to -200 with a total of 5.5.

The Ottawa Senators can win because… 

The Sabres blue line and netminding have been awful lately. Two starts ago, Ryan Miller was pulled after giving up three goals in less than seven minutes against Philadelphia. In his last outing, he gave up five more even though he got the win. 

The bigger concern might be the play of the defensemen as both Tyler Myers and Andrej Sekeras finished with a minus-three rating in the team’s latest contest against Winnipeg. The Jets aren’t exactly a high-scoring team so to see them leave with five goals is definitely a concern. 

If the Jets can have some offensive success, that should bode well for Ottawa as well. The Sens have lost four straight but the last three losses each came by one goal, so it’s not as if they are being run off the ice. Alfredsson has practiced late this week and is expecting to play on Friday, which will give his team a boost. 

The Sens won’t be intimidated by the road trip as they have won two straight in Buffalo. 

The Buffalo Sabres can win because… 

They own this series. 

Buffalo has won seven of the last eight meetings and given how Ottawa is playing these days, there’s a good chance they make it eight wins in nine tries. While Miller is struggling, backup Jhonas Enroth has been red hot and could be in net on Friday night. He’s 4-0-0 on the season with a 1.41 GAA. 

The Sens are just lost without their captain right now. They have just one win in the five games without Alfie  and even though he’s slated to return, it may take him a couple of games to get back in the swing of things. 

Ottawa’s power play is ice cold right now, failing to score on any of their last 11 man-advantages. They might need goals as goaltender Craig Anderson has a career GAA of 3.22 against Buffalo with a 2-2-1 record. 

Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction: 

This is a tricky spot for Buffalo where you may want to be wary as a bettor. The Sabres have won three straight and are the better team right now, but they have had a big price tag associated with their lines at home. 

In their last six home games, they have lost to Tampa Bay as a -150 favorite, Florida at -185 and Philadelphia at -135. 

If Miller is in net, you may want to take a value play with Ottawa now that they have their big weapon back in Daniel Alfredsson but if it’s Enroth, then you’d have to lean with Buffalo for your NHL pick in this spot. 

Pick: Sabres