Buffalo Sabres: 3 bold predictions for Week 1 of the 2023-24 season

Oct 6, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Victor Olofsson (71) celebrates his goal with teammates during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 6, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Victor Olofsson (71) celebrates his goal with teammates during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

Week 1 of the Buffalo Sabres 2023-24 season has arrived as the cool weather and fall are now in full swing here in mid-October, so let’s get bold.

It feels like it’s been an eternity since my last weekly bold predictions piece for the Buffalo Sabres, even if I’ve been going at it with my 75 In 75 Series for the last two-and-a-half months. Anyway, the Blue and Gold are facing a pair of teams they fared pretty well against last season, so perhaps they’ll start the season with a pair of wins?

Against the New York Rangers, they won two out of three contests, all of which went into overtime. They also beat the New York Islanders twice, and perhaps the Sabres would have swept their cross-state brethren had it not been for a controversial kick-in goal in Game 2.

So what can we expect this week? Here are three bold predictions for the first two games of the year.

3 bold predictions for the Buffalo Sabres in Week 1 of 2023-24

1 – Rasmus Dahlin pulls a 180 from last week

Wow, in last week’s preseason game, the Buffalo Sabres were bad, but no one looked worse than Rasmus Dahlin. The star two-way blueliner finished the game with a -4 rating and a GA of 4.14, which came following an xGA of 1.37, per raw data on Hockey Stat Cards

This week, Dahlin puts a meaningless preseason game in the rearview, brings his A-game in both contests, and looks like the player he was at the beginning of last season. Not saying he’ll go on a goal-scoring frenzy, but you’ll nonetheless see the familiar Dahlin.

2 – Expect a pair of goaltender duels

The New York teams have better-than-solid goaltending, but the Sabres have something in Devon Levi. Like Dahlin, Levi had a bad game on Friday, allowing a whopping seven goals. However, the 21-year-old also has a history of bouncing back following bad performances, and we will see this happen this week when he’s presumably in the net for at least one of these contests.

But if the Sabres, for whatever reason, roll with Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen or Eric Comrie, then I’ll go ultra-bold and stick by this projection. I’m not worried about Comrie, who if you remember, helped shut out the Islanders last season. If Luukkonen finds his way into the net, however, then you can go above and beyond the Bold Prediction label.

3 – Jeff Skinner scores a game-winning goal

Last season, Jeff Skinner sunk three game-winning goals, and this year, he’ll start the season off right with a game-winner in one of the Blue and Gold’s two meetings to kick off 2023-24. Could we see a repeat of last season when Skinner helped give Levi his first win as a pro?

Looking ahead to Week 1 of the Buffalo Sabres 2023-24 season. light. Related Story

We won’t need to wait long, as Week 1 of 2023-24 has finally dawned on the NHL landscape. And we’ll see if these limit-pushing bold predictions work their way into reality.

(Additional statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)