Newark, N.J. (WGR 550) - A magical late-season run for the Buffalo Sabres is over, as they were eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday in their 6-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils.
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While the end of a playoff race is certainly disappointing, there was plenty of positives this Sabres team could take the season. Buffalo has already put up more points this season than they were able to during the 2015-16 season. In addition, Buffalo has secured 40 wins in a season for the first time during their, now, 12-season playoff drought.
From an individual standpoint, a number of players put up career seasons in Buffalo as one of the top scoring teams in the NHL. This includes the likes of Tage Thompson, Alex Tuch, Dylan Cozens, Casey Mittelstadt, Rasmus Dahlin and others.
Sabres captain Kyle Okposo has been one of the veteran leaders during this long playoff drought in Buffalo. Since signing as a free agent with the Sabres in the summer of 2016, Okposo has been through plenty ups-and-downs with the organization. Although his 2022-23 season was the closest he came to making the playoffs, he may not get the chance to experience playoff hockey with the Sabres, as he is set to be an unrestricted free agent this upcoming offseason.
While Buffalo's playoff chances were extinguished on Tuesday, Okposo can feel how much this group has grown as a team over the season.
"I’m extremely proud to be a part of this group." said Okposo following Tuesday's loss in New Jersey. "To see how far we’ve come, we’ve become a team."
While Okposo says this season has been extremely gratifying, it is also disappointing that the playoff drought will continue in Buffalo for, at least, another season.
The Sabres have two games remaining on their regular season schedule, with Fan Appreciation Night set for Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators, and the season finale Friday against the Blue Jackets in Columbus.