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The Buffalo Sabres have been beating the lower-ranked teams in the NHL without much problem. The last Sabres game was a 6-2 win over the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs. But when it comes to teams with speed and skill, the Sabres are often found standing around in their own end watching their goaltender Ryan Miller taking a barrage of shots. For a team with the speed that the Sabres have, their one weakness seems to be playing against teams with speed.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have gone from the basement to the penthouse in just one season. Last year, it was not fun to watch a Tampa Bay Lightning game if you were a Tampa Bay fan. This year, the team is tops in the Eastern Conference and look poised to make an impressive playoff run. There have been changes in Tampa Bay that have caused this transformation, but many of the key players remain the same as they have always been. It is still all about Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier in Tampa Bay, and with leadership like that it is no wonder the Lightning are succeeding this year.

Buffalo Sabres

The long wait for Sabres players and fans is finally over as it was officially announced that billionaire Terry Pegula will buy the team as soon as the NHL approves the sale. Pegula has already given GM Darcy Regier a list of players he does not want traded. While the sale to Pegula should be a good thing, it has been a sort of a distraction in one area. Darcy Regier signed a contract extension before the season started, but head coach Lindy Ruff did not. There is a great deal of speculation as to what the future of the longest-tenured head coach in the NHL will be, and that has to be weighing on the Sabres.

Buffalo is getting NHL scores from some unexpected places this season. Rookie Tyler Ennis has 28 points so far this season, and tough guy Cody McCormick has scored seven goals this season. Power forward Paul Gaustad, known more for his checking than scoring, has scored three goals in the last four games. But until the Sabres get consistent results from highly paid goal scorers such as Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville, the Sabres will have problems beating the better teams in the league.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning are a potent team. They have several key pieces that fit together very well. Steven Stamkos is having another sports online betting blockbuster year with 40 goals and 32 assists in 54 games played. Veteran Martin St. Louis has 20 goals and 44 assists so far this season and has put up points in three of his last five games.

Tampa Bay is 7-3-0 in its last 10 games and 18-5-2 at home. Tampa has the best home record in the Eastern Conference, and they are battling Philadelphia for the overall lead in the conference standings.

The Bottom Line

The Lighting are a good home team and the Sabres are a good road team. But the Sabres defense has been lousy all season long, and they constantly look out of position. With the speed that the Lightning has, the Sabres may not stand much of a chance in this game.

BSN Sports Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning

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