The Sabres are 18-19-5 so far this season, accruing 41 points in 42 games. They haven’t won on the road since December 9 – so an upcoming seven-game road trip will be a true test for the struggling squad.
After tonight’s match-up at the First Niagara Center against the Maple Leafs, they’ll travel to Long Island to face the NY Islanders, who are tied for second-worst in the league. Their goal differential of -31 is currently tied for second worst in the conference, but left wing Matt Moulson has 20 goals, and all-star John Tavares has tallied 40 points on the season already.
Their next two games, on Jan. 16 and 18, will set them up for face-offs with two of the best Western Conference teams.
The Red Wings and Blackhawks, fifth and second in the conference, will provide challenges for the traveling team. Only Boston (+71) has a better goal differential than Detroit, and Chicago has three all-star members on their squad: Patrick Kane (10g, 28a), Jonathan Toews (22 g, 21 a) and Marian Hossa (17 g, 29 a). However, the recent loss of Patrick Sharp to injury could prove costly for the team.
Two more west coast games – against the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 19 and the St. Louis Blues Jan. 21 – will bring the Sabres back to the Eastern Conference for a matchup against the Devils Jan. 24 before the All Star break.
January will cap off with a trip to Montreal to face the Habs on the last day of the month.
As it stands, the Sabres are 11th in the Eastern Conference. This upcoming road trip could provide up to 14 points, which would help in the never-ending playoff push. But if they can’t turn around their road record, which has been mediocre in the past month, this upcoming trip could put a serious dent in the playoff hopes of loyal Buffalonians.
Stay faithful, fans.