OPINION: Sabres Week in Review: Buffalo on hot streak to end week

A glance at the last week of hockey for the Sabres

Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) - The Buffalo Sabres faced an important stretch of hockey in the past week with playoff implications on the line almost every night. After a rocky start to the week, the team thrived under pressure.

The Sabres played four games since Tuesday, Feb. 11, and posted a record of 3-1 in that span. The wins came over the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals, while the one loss came to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

With wins over the Panthers and Capitals, the Sabres stayed close in the tight playoff race.

As of Sunday night, the Sabres sit one point out of the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, and three points out of the first Wild Card spot with 66 points. The Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders control both available Wild Card spots.

Live On-Air
Ask Your Smart Speaker to Play W G R 5 50
WGR 550 SportsRadio
Listen Now
Now Playing
Now Playing

Here are three observations from the past week of Sabres hockey:

Jack Quinn
Photo credit Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

1.) Over complicated

The Sabres have one of the most potent offenses in the league when they play their game, but when they deviate from that plan, things tend to fall apart.

Throughout the course of the week, the Sabres had many chances fall apart. There are many reasons this can happen, but most were due to one too many passes before a shot, players trying to do too much on their own, or forcing a "drop pass".

The team attempts many "drop passes" right before entering the offensive zone, and more times than not it doesn't work out as intended. While it doesn't always lead to a goal, these plays can be detrimental to the team, as was the case in a goal against the Capitals.

When the team keeps their game plan to a more simple style, they find success more often, and minimize their opponents ability to counterattack.

Dylan Cozens
Photo credit Rich Storry - USA TODAY Sports

2.) Stepping up

Throughout most of this season, Buffalo hasn't had to deal with major injuries to star players all that much.

However, at the end of the past week, winger Alex Tuch and defenseman Rasmus Dahlin were both injured in a game against the Panthers and were unable to play Sunday against Washington.

Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams stated on Sunday that Dahlin would be listed as day-to-day and the injury wasn't as serious. Tuch, on the other hand, was placed on Injured Reserve and is considered week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

While the longevity of the injuries for both players remains a mystery, the rest of the team still needed to win an important game over the Capitals. Not only did the team win the game, but they did so in style.

Many different players stepped up in place of Tuch and Dahlin, and the team rallied to earn their third win in-a-row in hopes that two of their stars will soon return.

Alex Tuch
Photo credit Mike Ehrmann - Getty Images

3.) Building momentum

With only 24 games remaining and six teams fighting for two Wild Card spots, the Sabres are going to need to find a way to secure the most wins possible in the least amount of time.

Buffalo is currently riding a three-game winning-streak, while also having a record of 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. The age of the team has always been somewhat of a concern once the Sabres had gotten to this point in the season, but they seem to be responding to the pressure well.

As the season draws to a close, the number of teams competing for these two spots will obviously dwindle. The Sabres could find themselves in a heated battle right up until the last day of the season. The more momentum they build now, the better.

Jeff Skinner
Photo credit Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

Game of the week: Sunday, Feb. 26 - 7-4 win vs. Washington Capitals

The Sabres extended their winning streak to three games with a statement win over the Capitals at KeyBank Center. The Sabres controlled the game throughout with some early resistance from their opponents.

Sabres forward Dylan Cozens netted his first-career NHL hat-trick and brought his goal total on the year to 23. Forward Vinnie Hinostroza also recorded two points (1+1) in his first game back in the NHL since Jan. 14.

The win also lengthens the Sabres' lead in the standings over the Capitals. They already had an advantage by having four games at-hand over Washington, but now Buffalo has a two-point advantage on them as well.

Dylan Cozens
Photo credit Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

Player of the week: Tage Thompson

Thompson continues to prove his worth game-in and game-out, building off a breakout season last year. In the last four games played, the center recorded eight points (4+4).

The budding star tallied his 40th goal of the season on Sunday, surpassing his previous season record of 38 goals in one season. He has a total of 79 points (40+39) in 58 games this year.

Peyton Krebs
Photo credit Rich Storry - USA TODAY Sports

The week ahead:

The Sabres will only play three games next week: Two games on home ice and one game on the road.

They will start the week of at home on Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The team then takes to the road for one game against the Boston Bruins on Thursday before finishing up the week on Saturday in a matinee game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the KeyBank Center.

Photo credit Losi and Gangi
We strive to be a platform where varying opinions may be voiced and heard. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed by the author(s) of this article and/or by those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not represent those of Audacy, Inc. We are not responsible for any damages or losses arising from this article and/or any comment(s).
Featured Image Photo Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports