By weekend back-to-back, it definitely means Friday and Saturday, and it’s something the Buffalo Sabres should take advantage of.
In October, the Buffalo Sabres didn’t fare incredibly well and it gave a lot of us in the fanbase a scare. But when you look at who they played early, the NHL did them few favors in October. They opened the season against two of the league’s better defensive teams in the New York Rangers and Islanders, before they faced the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are one of the league’s highest-scoring teams.
They also played the New Jersey Devils, Colorado Avalanche, and the Islanders once again, so October wasn’t the easiest month. Sure, they lost to a pair of weaker opponents in the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens, but overall, it wasn’t surprising to see the Sabres struggle – I even projected it in my October 2023 predictions – but November seems more manageable.
Through four games, the Blue and Gold are 2-1-1, and they have a pair of favorable matchups tonight and tomorrow vs. the Minnesota Wild and against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Not only are these less formidable opponents, but the overall scheduling is unfortunate for the Wild and Pens.
For one, the Wild are on the back-end of their back-to-back, and they also haven’t fared incredibly well this month in what has been a tough November 2023 schedule. Minnesota has played Jersey, the Isles, and twice, they faced the Rangers, all in the past eight days.
Buffalo Sabres have a HUGE advantage despite being on a back-to-back
Tonight will also mark their third game in four days, plus they’re on the road. And this is coming against a Sabres team that has had the previous two days off. So if you’re talking about one team with a huge advantage, it’s the Blue and Gold.
There isn’t a better team for the Sabres to play against on the road in a back-to-back than the Penguins. Pittsburgh is one of the closest NHL cities in proximity to Buffalo, so it’s just a short trip down the road from the shores of Lake Erie and the banks of the Niagara River.
The Penguins have underperformed early, but their sparkling 3-0-0 record this month has been another story. However, it’s also important to remember that one of those wins came against the San Jose Sharks, and their outing last night was a hard-fought W over the Los Angeles Kings.
All three of these games occurred on the West Coast. So not only were the Pens on a road trip in California, they also need to reset the body clock quickly by tomorrow evening. And that isn’t the easiest task out there.
Overall, the Buffalo Sabres have a chance to pull off two wins in their weekend, yes weekend, back-to-back. The schedule finally works in their favor while the Wild and Pens may find it rather tough to adjust thanks to their own schedules.
(Information provided by Hockey-Reference)