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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Keep attacking the net and taking advantage of rebounds

Buffalo remains inconsistent from a scoring standpoint, but if you noticed how well this team played Detroit, their constant scoring and overall excellent play offensively came because they were crowding the net. Jordan Greenway and Zach Benson create chaos better than anyone else, but we also saw blueliner Bowen Byram get involved in one of his two goals last night. 

The Blue and Gold aren’t getting consistent in the offensive zone through the final month of the regular season, but they will maximize their scoring chances by playing a physical game around the crease. Doing so will also open opportunities for their best scorers like Jeff Skinner, Tage Thompson, JJ Peterka, Alex Tuch, and Rasmus Dahlin. 

Opposing skaters will have a rough time boxing out the likes of Greenway and Tuch, while Benson can just sneak into the crease unnoticed. This is where Skinner and company can set up along the perimeter, creating opportunities that can lead to goals from the outside, or by deflections from the guys surrounding the crease.

Again, we won’t see seven-goal games or even four-goal games from the Sabres throughout the playoff race except on rare occasions, but wreaking havoc around the net has worked far more often than it hasn’t. If they want to maximize their chances of making the NHL playoffs, surrounding the crease should be a key for every remaining game.