OPINION: Just when I thought I was out, Sabres pull me back in

The Sabres have the longest current playoff drought in the NHL but they are trending up and fans are taking notice

Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) - Well done, Buffalo Sabres. You have me back.

For the first time in a long time, I am cheering or firing curses at my television while I watch Sabres games. (Apologies to my wife for those mornings when I wake up at 3 a.m. EST to watch back the Sabres’ West Coast game I recorded the night before)

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My sports blood pressure going up doesn't just happen on nights when the Sabres play. When they are off, we have the out-of-town scoreboard to stress over.

An oldie, but a goodie came back recently when I noticed the two teams ahead of the Sabres in the Eastern Conference Wild Card chase faced each other. The yelling came out of my mouth when I realized they had gone to overtime, meaning both teams would be getting one point.

Remember when Don Granato took over for Ralph Krueger as head coach?

I didn't think much about the Sabres winning many games at that point. I said I would be happy as long as the Sabres played entertaining games, and were more of an offensive-minded team.


The Sabres have been more entertaining under Granato, and they can actually score lots of goals. The Sabres are the highest-scoring team, in terms of goals per-game, or the second-highest depending on what night you check those statistics.

The last time a Buffalo Sabres team led the NHL in scoring was the 2006-07 season when that group also ended up with the league's best record.

There are four players currently averaging more than a point per-game: Tage Thompson, Rasmus Dahlin, Alex Tuch and Jeff Skinner.

Four players have already topped 20 goals for the season: Thompson (34), Tuch (24), Victor Olofsson (23), and Skinner (20). Dylan Cozens (17) should eventually join that group.

That would give the Sabres five 20-goal scorers in the same season for the first time since 2008.

It’s been amazing to listen to the games and hear Dan Dunleavy talk about how the opposing team needs to figure out a way to slow down the Sabres, because they don't want to or just can't play at Buffalo’s pace.

It might remind you a little bit of the 2005-06 Sabres team when the league was coming off a full-season lockout. They altered some rules to open up the game, and the Sabres - built on speed and skill - were now the envy of the NHL.

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Buffalo is far from a one line team too. Although that top line of Thompson, Tuch and Skinner has been one of the best in the NHL, other players are chipping in to help the cause like Cozens - who will probably get the next big Sabres contract handed out - and Olofsson - who now has a career-high 23 goals.

Kyle Okposo, Casey Mittelstadt, and Jack Quinn all have, at least, 20 points.

The defensive group is doing their share, as well.

Dahlin is second in the entire NHL in goals from the blue line with 14, and rookie Owen Power recently had a three-goal road trip and is up to 19 points for the season.

I hope you will enjoy the Sabres’ bye week, because after that, the fun (stress) resumes.

The Sabres play 32 games over the final two months. Hopefully they will be playing meaningful games come April. They sure are right now, and it’s nice to see my Sabres emotions were always there.

They just needed to be woken up.

Photo credit Losi and Gangi
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