The Sabres Observer
They did it again.
It took a shootout and recovery from blowing a 2-goal lead to do it, but the Sabres defeated Ottawa 5-4. Buffalo is now 4 points behind 8th in the East.
That's 10 wins in 13 games, despite only having outshot their opponent in 2 of them.
Do we chalk another one up to puck luck? There have been some games during this stretch where the Sabres were the recipients of good fortune (do you deserve to beat Calgary when you're outshot 45-19?), but last night's win was hard earned and well deserved.
Marcus Foligno and Brian Flynn each had a goal and an assist in this one. Tyler Myers (1 assist, 31:09 TOI), Rasmus Ristolainen (1 goal, 25:24 TOI) and Nikita Zadorov (4 hits, 2 blocked shots, 27:44 TOI) logged heavy minutes on the blue line. Jhonas Enroth looked like he could use a game off yet still made enough saves -- including some big stops in the shootout -- to seal the victory.
As these wins keep piling up, you wonder when the word "playoffs" is going to creep into the conversation.
That time is just about here. No matter what you think of your team, you can't ignore the standings.
The big question today isn't whether or not GM Tim Murray and the Sabres are up for an attempted run to the playoffs -- it's whether or not the fans are up for it.
Today is the one-month anniversary of the beginning of an improbable streak by the Sabres that has seen them win nine of their last twelve games.
What follows is a statistical breakdown of this past month. What some of these eye-opening numbers will show is that Buffalo will have to play much better hockey for this success to be sustainable.
Based on reports coming from Sabres practice this morning, it looks like Nikita Zadorov will be staying with Buffalo and not joining Russia for the World Junior Championship.
It appears as though trade talks between the Sabres and Red Wings involving Tyler Myers are still very much alive.
From Bill King of SportsBusiness Journal (and reprinted in Buffalo Business First),
Cliff Benson reached for a sheet of scratch paper, leaned forward and began sketching the resurgent south side of Buffalo's downtown.
Over here is the waterfront. There, First Niagara Center, where the Sabres play. Here is the HarborCenter, the $172 million complex that the Pegulas opened across from the arena last month, with two hockey rinks, the vast and impressive (716) Food and Sport bar, a Tim Hortons doughnut shop and, soon, a Marriott. There, about a mile and a quarter up the rail line, is a medical campus that has spurred much of the downtown rebirth. Along the way is the Class AAA baseball park, Coca-Cola Field, home of the Buffalo Bisons.
And here, snug between the arena and the ballpark …
Here is where Benson stopped drawing, tapping his pen to a blank spot and looking up.
"If the stadium is right here," said the confidant whom Terry Pegula dispatched to Buffalo to help execute his vision, not so much for the team as for the city, "then you can tie all of that together under the theory that as those assets are developed, other people will come invest.
"For Terry, this was about more than owning a hockey team, though he loves owning the hockey team. Now, it's about more than owning two teams. This is about Buffalo, and the region, and economic growth."
It's been no secret for the past few months that the Sabres have been shopping forward Chris Stewart.
Apparently, talks are starting to heat up.
Tampa beat Buffalo 5-0 in what turned into a real doozy. It all started when Steven Stamkos took exception to the way Mike Weber was defending the area in front of his net.
This wasn't expected at all.
After defeating the team with the most points in the NHL last night, the Sabres have incredibly won 6 of their last 7 games. The day their head coach had to apologize for comparing their level of play to that of a peewee team is a distant memory.
Granted, the Lightning were a bit tired on the end of a back-to-back, but that's a moot point in this developing conflict in Buffalo between fans who want to see their team win the most possible games now, and those who have visions of wunderkinds dancing in their heads.
From Howard Simon of WGR-550,
What in the name of winning hockey is going on with the Sabres? How do you explain a team that was 3-13-2, winning 5 of its last 6 games? In short, they have a hot line, a very good, young defense pairing and a hot goalie.
Forbes has released its latest list of NHL franchise values, and Terry Pegula has reason to be pleased.
About The Sabres Observer
Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003. He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene. Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]