Buffalo Sabres still very much alive in the wild card race

With Alex Tuch’s return to the ice in the Buffalo Sabres big win over Toronto, the Blue and Gold still have a lot of life left in them.

Last night, the Buffalo Sabres skated into Scotiabank Arena and took it to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who boasted a home record of 24-6-5 coming into the contest. The win showed us the Blue and Gold still have life in them in the wild card race, and the current standings reflect this. Here is how they look as of Tuesday, March 14th at NOON, EST:

  1. Pittsburgh Penguins, 78 points/66 games
  2. New York Islanders, 76 points/68 games
  3. Florida Panthers, 73 points/67 games
  4. Buffalo Sabres, 71 points/66 games

Since the Sabres have two games on the Islanders, who they are five points behind, that’s huge for Buffalo. Sure, a win instead of a loss vs. the Isles last week would have been great, but the Sabres are still in a manageable position.

Buffalo Sabres still have a pulse in the wild card race

Not only are they five points behind the Isles with a two-game advantage, their upcoming schedule should also give you some optimism. Here is who the Sabres play over the next five games:

  1. at Washington
  2. at Philadelphia
  3. vs. Boston
  4. vs. Nashville
  5. vs. New Jersey

Buffalo beat Washington twice already, and to face them on the road should give fans even more excitement. While they lost to the Flyers earlier this season in a 4-0 blowout, Philadelphia has also suffered through multiple rough outings lately.

Boston is going to be the biggest challenge, and I’m going to assume the Sabres drop that game in regulation. But they crushed the Predators earlier this year. The Jersey game is also a concern, but if Tuch and Dahlin can stay healthy, and perhaps if they get Samuelsson back by then (could be a slight chance), then the Sabres can win that game.

Overall, they should, if their star players can avoid injury, snag six points here, which would place them at 77 total. And while I highly doubt it will be enough to take the lead over the Isles barring some monumental collapse from the latter, Buffalo will find themselves in pristine position as they dive into the final leg of the regular season.

(Schedule and standings info derived from ESPN.com)