3 ways the Sabres can keep surging and earn a spot in the NHL playoffs

The Buffalo Sabres are 16-11-1 since the beginning of January, and they have since climbed back into the wild card race.
Mar 12, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA;  Buffalo Sabres right wing JJ Peterka (77) celebrates his goal
Mar 12, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres right wing JJ Peterka (77) celebrates his goal / Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
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While the Sabres looked like sellers at the NHL trade deadline, a sign that a team doesn’t plan on contending this year, they are just five points out of the second wild card spot heading into Wednesday, so this season is far from over. Ironically enough, it’s the same number of points they find themselves out of a wild card spot as they had on March 13th, 2023, even if they have four fewer at the moment.

That said, Buffalo can still snap that 12-year, and looming 13-year playoff drought with ease if they can keep playing the same way they have been since the beginning of January. Sure, it’s still a stretch, but consider the following:

The Tampa Bay Lightning have been more inconsistent than the Blue and Gold have multiple times this season, the Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils, and Pittsburgh Penguins are ailing, the Washington Capitals (barring a few outlying games) can’t score, and next to one exceptional winning streak, the New York Islanders haven’t been a good team in 2024. 

Sabres could make the NHL playoffs by playing consistent hockey

Inconsistency has been the constant theme this season, and while the Sabres have just one three-game winning streak of three games in 2023-24, they only need to win more than they are losing to make a serious run in the current environment. If they earn two points in three out of every five remaining games and win Game No. 82 on the schedule, they will finish the year with 87 points, which could be enough to take a wild card this season. 

This would give them a record of 41-36-5, but if they earned two additional points via overtime losses, it puts them at 89 points, and well within position to snag that final wild card spot. This is assuming the Isles fall back to Earth, and the other teams mentioned continue at their current trajectory, but the possibility is there.

So the question becomes: How can the Sabres do everything in their power to make this happen? Here are three ways the Blue and Gold can keep up their winning ways in 2024 and sneak into the playoffs.