The Buffalo Sabres still believe they are in the playoff hunt for the 2013 race for the Stanley Cup. Sure it won’t be easy, but no member of this team, despite how embattled the locker room may be, despite how unhappy guys may be without some of the core players around, the team still holds a few cards of their own on making the playoffs. They are a long shot, they know, however, they are not the only holders of their own destiny, they’re going to have to depend on help from other teams.
Regardless of all the facts, the Buffalo Sabres will make a run for the playoffs and will likely miss it by only a couple of points. Same old same old. That’s because despite the many subtractions we have made from the team, the architect and the vision still remain. That vision takes on the New Jersey Devils tonight as the Buffalo Sabres look to make it 3-0 in their last three games. The last two have been emotional because they have been linked together with the trade of former Buffalo Sabres captain Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild.
Tonight’s contest will be nothing like the last two. Buffalo’s last two wins were against playoff bound teams, and playoff bound for awhile. The Pittsburgh Penguins organization have built a machine, and the Ottawa Senators are beating all odds by staying in the chase despite many major injuries. Tonight’s opponent for the Buffalo Sabres is almost a mirror image, the only difference between the Sabres and Devils is three more losses to the Sabres in regulation along with three loser points for the New Jersey Devils. Looking at the last ten games Buffalo is 5-2-3, New Jersey is 2-5-3. For Buffalo the climb is six points, and it starts by beating the teams in front of them. New Jersey claims the tenth playoff spot therefore Buffalo would do themselves well in their hunt to stay alive by beating the Devils in regulation.
The Buffalo Sabres can ill afford any three point games by anyone in the Eastern Conference right now. Don’t expect Thomas Vanek back in the lineup just yet, however the Sabres leading scorer is determined to get back into the lineup, he is just waiting to be 100% – where he can actually help the team. If Buffalo can pull through without him tonight, it likens the odds that he will be back in the lineup against Winnipeg on Tuesday. Game time is 7:30. The teams have split the season series thus far.