There is plenty of hockey action on tap tonight and most of it will be hot.  Teams are still trying to figure out where they’re going wrong and what they’re doing right, with several having already made considerable strides toward developing a winning lineup.  Still, there will always be some surprises and there isn’t much reason to expect tonight to be any different.

The Buffalo Sabres are going to go up against the New York Rangers in a game that the Rangers desperately want to win.  The Eastern Conference teams are looking to take a stand and they both have a lot riding on the game.  The Rangers fell to the Arizona Coyotes in overtime Wednesday, 3-2, but they fought hard and the loss wasn’t necessarily due to superior firepower.

The Sabres have had an easier run, winning three straight games.  Sitting at number one in the conference with an 8-2 record, they have dominated in the league, as well as against the 2-5 Rangers in their past meetings.  However, last year saw the squad get off to a strong start, too, before tanking and riding the ice all the way downhill.  They need to pull it together tonight to keep the momentum going.  Given that they are 5-0 in the last five when going up against a team with a losing record, they should be able to do it.

The Rangers have been putting up a good fight in each of their games this season, average 2.83 goals per contest.  However, the defense has suffered and has allowed an average of 3.67 goals per game.  It shows in their record and it will most likely show tonight, as the Sabres are favored to win at -120.

Elsewhere, the New York Islanders are going to meet up with the Coyotes.  Things should get really interesting, as both teams are 5-3 and the Coyotes haven’t had much rest.  The Islanders played their last game this past weekend, which means they’ve had plenty of time to regroup and recuperate.

The Islanders took the victory this past Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but it took overtime for it to happen.  It’s a good thing that they’ve been able to work on their strategy this week, because they’ll need it against the superior Coyotes.

The Coyotes now have four straight victories.  They have been averaging three goals per game and are fist in the league in goals against.  They’ve only allowed 1.88 per game this season, and that defense is going to help them tonight.  At +105, they’re more than ready to tack on a fifth straight win to their record.

The Carolina Hurricanes are taking a little road trip as they head to Ohio for their game against the Blue Jackets.  The ‘Canes had a spectacular year last year and are ready to do it again, already getting six wins this season.  However, only one of those wins has come in the past four games – the others were all busts and the Carolina crew needs to figure out what it’s doing wrong as it takes to the ice tonight.

The Blue Jackets, on the other hand, have won three games in their last five to have a 4-3-2 season.  The last four times these two teams have met, the Ohio squad has dominated on three occasions and is hopeful that it can do it again.  However, a solid Carolina defense is going to give it some trouble.  That’s why the ‘Canes are going to take the win and are looking at -135 odds.