So we lost to the Carolina Hurricanes. Not surprising, it was a close game. So far the Sabres and Canes have played three times, and there is a fourth game on the docket. All three games so far have been decided by one goal – and one of those games went into overtime.
Games in hand is not a stat you can count on to get into the playoffs, because, well, at the end of the year everyone plays 82 games. So whats more important than games in hand? How about the games you play against the teams that are around you in the playoff hunt. The Buffalo Sabres could easily be walking into the playoffs had they been able to overcome a little bit of offensive woefulness and beat the Hurricanes. The Sabres have taken only three points from the Hurricanes, with the win and the overtime loss. Even if you had pushed them to overtime last night you would still be in a better position.
The point of the matter is that these teams are so similar that we can expect the fourth game between Buffalo and Carolina to go in a very similar fashion low scoring and a close or tied after regulation. Its not because both teams are really good – there is a reason that both teams are fighting for seventh or eighth place in the standings as opposed to standing atop their division. I have entered into a twitterangement with the writer from Cardiac Canes - a small friendly wager on game four. So far that I know she is 1-0 in such friendly wagers on the network. I am hoping she isn’t on some sort of hot streak – I would love to give her the first loss. Not sure what the loser will have to do yet, but I am sure it will be funny or humiliating.
It is going to come down to the last week or even the last game of the season to decide on the final one or two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. If the Carolina Hurricanes end one position above the Sabres and in the playoffs, you can look not to the games in hand but the games against, becuase it is going to be a one or two point margin seperating these two teams.