It took the Buffalo Sabres 66 tries to win 33 games in 2022-23. But this year, they are winning their first 33 in just 55 contests.
If you look at my 2023-24 predictions for the Buffalo Sabres, I got them struggling, or playing 0.500 hockey early. But things pick up in roughly December, and by mid-January, they are standing at a record of 26-15-3 – good for 55 points.
So they are well on pace to reach 33 wins (at least 69 points) by Game #55, which comes against the Anaheim Ducks. This puts them at 33 Ws in 11 fewer games for 2023-24, and unless the Eastern Conference is so dominant that teams will need at least 100 points just to make it into the postseason, it should put Buffalo well within the playoff race.
How can the Blue and Gold reach 33 wins in just 55 games this season? It comes down to being experienced enough of a team that they will get the best of opponents they should beat. They should also play 0.500 hockey vs. squads they are evenly matched with, thanks to that overall uptick in experience.
Buffalo Sabres snag 33 wins in first 55 games for 2023-24
While it will be great to see the Sabres snag the 33-win mark by Game 55, we all know that they need to at least maintain 0.500 hockey for the final 27 contests. This would give the Sabres roughly 27 more out of a possible 54 points, putting them at a baseline of 96 for the year (as of mid-January, I have them slated with three overtime losses – 66 points for wins + 3 points for OTLs + 27 baseline points = 96 total).
But these aren’t your Buffalo Sabres of the past – teams that would embark on hot streaks only to fizzle as time went on. We saw stagnation last season, but we also saw a near-heroic recovery at the end there.
So if this latest bold prediction rings true, expect the Blue and Gold to play better than 0.500 for those last 27 games. And yes, that means they will be playing hockey during at least the latter half of April.