Saturday NHL Picks
Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their hockey picks and predictions for Saturday, January 17.
Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals, 7:05PM ET
A bevy of injuries to key players hasn't stopped the Boston Bruins from building another winning streak and an even longer string of victories on the road.
A visit to Washington, however, could put both runs in serious jeopardy.
The NHL-leading Bruins will look to win an eighth straight road game and continue pulling away from the Capitals on Saturday while avenging their only defeat away from home since Thanksgiving.
Boston's rise to the top of the standings has been complicated lately by injuries, as coach Claude Julien's club continues to play without a number of its top forwards. While young standouts Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron are working their way back, Marco Sturm is out for the season and team goals leader Phil Kessel is expected to miss at least a few more weeks.
Defensemen Andrew Ference and Aaron Ward also remain out, but the Bruins (33-7-4) still scrambled for their fourth straight victory on Thursday, beating the New York Islanders 2-1 on the road despite getting outshot 41-27.
Tim Thomas' 40 saves sparked Boston, with the All-Star earning his third straight win. He has allowed just three total goals over that span, lowering his goals-against average to 2.00 - second-best in the league.
Carolina Hurricanes at Buffalo Sabres, 7:05PM ET
The Buffalo Sabres have had some trouble scoring after ranking among the NHL's leaders last season. Perhaps a matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes can give them a boost.
Coming off one of their better offensive games of the season, the Sabres look to continue their home dominance of the Hurricanes when the teams meet for the first time this season Saturday night.
Buffalo (22-17-5) was fourth in the league in scoring in 2007-08, averaging 3.06 goals per game, but is posting 2.75 this season - 2.65 at home.
After being held to one goal in each of their previous two games - both losses - the Sabres rallied from a three-goal deficit against Dallas on Thursday night and won 5-4 when Jason Pominville scored in the sixth round of a shootout.
It was the finale of a three-game road trip for Buffalo, which will play six straight away from home following this contest with Carolina (21-19-5). Facing the Hurricanes at HSBC Arena may give the Sabres a chance to build some momentum on offense.
Buffalo has won four straight at home against Carolina since a 4-3 loss on March 22, 2006, scoring 15 goals in the last two games and outscoring the Hurricanes 19-3 in the last three. The Sabres went 2-1-1 in last season's series, winning the finale 7-1 at home on March 14.
Carolina doesn't seem in any position to put up much resistance, having allowed 20 goals in losing a season-high four straight. It allowed more than five goals in regulation for the first time this season in Thursday night's 6-4 home defeat to Toronto.
The Hurricanes, who had won four straight games before this skid, are in danger of losing five in a row for the first time since Dec. 5-15, 2006.
Posted: 1/17/09 12:45PM ET