Where Do the Sabres Fit in the Tight Race for the Playoffs?

Sean MartinContributor IFebruary 6, 2009

With what seems to be just another divisional matchup between the Buffalo Sabres and the Montreal Canadians tonight in the city of good neighbors, is probably going to give us a good look as to where these two teams belong in the Eastern Conference standings at the end of this regular season.

As of right now, Montreal has the edge up in fourth position with 64 points. However, injuries are still plaguing the Canadians squad as they fight to just hold on to their position.

The Sabres are in seventh position with 59 points, but this weekend, starting with the game tonight, is going to show the fans truly where this team belongs in the postseason rankings.

A win tonight against the Habs will move Buffalo into a tie with the Flyers for sixth spot. The Rangers, having troubles as of late, play a late one in Dallas tonight as well where Buffalo fans will be hoping for a New York loss.

Even more tantalizing, tomorrow night Buffalo plays against the debilitated Senators, while the Flyers have a tough match against the red hot Bruins. Another win by Buffalo tomorrow, as well as a loss by Philly (which has a great possibility of happening), will move Buffalo up to fifth position, and only a point under the Canadians.

It seems that Buffalo has finally hit their stride this season, something Sabres fans knew they were capable of doing, and their performance this weekend will be the determining factor. These are games that Buffalo has the talent to win, but if they come out to play for only one or two periods instead of the entire 60 minutes, they can find a way to lose.

What exactly do I mean by finally hitting their stride?

Vanek, Connolly, and Stafford have been on fire, while Miller has been cutting down on bad goals allowed. In fact, he is now on a shutout roll, now up to five on the season, something I felt Miller had a large problem with but is now overcoming.

The defense has tightened up their game, making life for Miller much easier, holding the Leafs to only nine shots after two periods of play two nights ago.

All the pieces are there, they just have to march forward without faltering or looking farther down the road than the next game.

If Buffalo is to win out this weekend, the east had better keep a watch on their doorstep, because the Sabres have always been known for their late season pushes, and when they make the playoffs as an underdog, they can easily make it deep.

So Sabres fans, get up and be loud, because this is the homestretch, and your hometown team is getting hot. Now it's playoffs or bust!