And we are now less than one week away from the Buffalo Sabres facing off vs. the New York Rangers, so let’s get even bolder for these last few.
The Buffalo Sabres are playing in their final preseason game tonight vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins, so now that the Blue and Gold are six days from the games counting, let’s get even bolder with our final seven predictions. And since the loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday implied their defense still has its work cut out for them, and this is where we’re getting bold today.
Yesterday, I stated the defense will play better than most in the NHL universe expect. In Bold Prediction #66, I predicted a far more physical Sabres team. Today, I’m getting even bolder, stating that Buffalo’s defense will play particularly well vs. the non-playoff teams from last season.
Buffalo Sabres will shut down weaker opponents throughout 2023-24
The Blue and Gold will play 15 teams this year that didn’t make the playoffs in 2022-23 between two and four times apiece, and they will collectively allow just 2.75 goals against them this year. Now, Devon Levi’s presence plays an important role here, as he should get better as the season wears on, but the Sabres will also steadily mesh regarding their defensive game.
As I’ve said in previous bold predictions, the D won’t be picture-perfect, as it’s impossible to expect them to overachieve in the same way they did offensively. But they will also show they’re a much-improved unit, as yesterday’s prediction implied. Today’s projection just takes things one step further, as with such a low GAA vs. non-playoff teams compared to last season, the Blue and Gold will defeat squads they are light years ahead of on paper most of the time.
They will have their fair share of tough outings, to be realistic. But the Buffalo Sabres will also wow us by holding non-playoff opponents to less than three goals far more often than they did just one year ago.