Since the ‘70s, the Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs have met on the ice a total of 216 times.  Of all of these contests, the Sabres have won the most with 116 victories.  Tonight could mark win number 117, as the Sabres are in Toronto to carry on the rivalry, and the game is the first of our picks for Dec 17.

Buffalo is in second place in the Atlantic Division, three points ahead of Toronto with 39 points.  The team has won three and tied twice in its last five games and is on a strong run that is putting them in a great position for a playoff appearance.  If the Sabres want to win tonight, they’re going to have to figure out how to make improvements in their penalty kill and power play capabilities, as this is one area where the Leafs have the advantage.

Daily Picks For Dec 17

Sabres captain Jack Eichel has 29 points this season, a tie for the third-longest in the history of the team.  The center has been on fire and is hoping to extend his streak tonight.  He’ll have a little bit of help, as the Leafs are going to have to play without Dmytro Timashov, Timothy Liljegren and Martin Marincin.  While Toronto was able to stop Buffalo the last time the two teams met in November, the Sabres are gaining strength and coordination and are ready to turn things upside down.  Despite being a huge underdog at +185, the Sabres are looking sharp and are going to capitalize on the Leafs’ injuries, and Eichel’s strength, and take the victory in a close match.

Bruins vs Kings

In the second of our picks for Dec 17, the LA Kings are off to face the Boston Bruins tonight and will face a team that has been extremely solid this season.  The Bruins are 21-7-6, while the Kings are 14-18-3, and this is going to prove to be a lopsided contest.  Even with Ilya Kovalchuk headed out the door after a dismal season, the energy won’t be found in the Kings box.

The Bruins are heading into a four-game run on their own ice, which has to be a good feeling.  The Kings now have one of the worst records in the league, with no signs of improving, and have been especially poor on the penalty kill and power play (14 goals in 113 opportunities) areas.  The Bruins are going to do everything they can to take advantage of these weaknesses.

The Kings have also been poor in trying to protect the net.  Neither Jonathan Quick nor Jack Campbell has been able to excel, and the Bruins are going to be all over any of the goaltenders that steps in front of the net tonight.  The -250 advantage to the Bruins isn’t worth a bet, but the -1.5 on the puck line is worth a few bucks.  The Bruins are definitely going to win, thanks to superior firepower, and the puck line is the only place that is going to see valuable action.

Flyers vs Ducks

The Philadelphia Flyers host the Anaheim Ducks tonight in a game that the Flyers hope can put them back on the right track.  They’re 17-11-5 on the season, but have had a tumble recently that they haven’t been able to stop.  That could change as they head back to their own ice to face the Ducks.

Travis Konecny is expected to be back for Philly after having spent some time watching his teammates as he recovered from a concussion suffered in a game against the Ottawa Senators.  His return couldn’t come at a better time, either, since Joel Farabee was handed a three-game suspension from the NHL this past Sunday.  Without either players, the Ducks may have had a chance.

The Ducks are 12-4 against the Flyers and 7-1 when playing in Philly.  Stepping back and looking at the larger picture, though, reveals something different.  Anaheim is five for 18 in its last 23 games and one for five in its last six road games.  The Flyers win tonight, thanks to a Ducks squad that has been unorganized lately, and the -143 moneyline backs that up.  However, it won’t be an easy victory, and the 5.5 (-121) over is where the NHL betting money needs to be.  The over has gone 7-2-2 across the last 11 games in this matchup, and 3-0-2 in Philly.

So, that’s it for our picks for Dec 17, good luck!