The Buffalo Sabres lost three defenders—Jaroslav Spacek, Dmitri Kalinin, and Nathan Paetsch—in three days. And when Brian Campbell was shipped off to San Jose at the beginning of the month, it appeared that the season was over for the Sabres.
But have no fear Buffalo; Mike Weber and Andrej Sekera are here. Weber has played four games since being called up on March 12 and is a +13. Are you kidding me? +13? It has taken Buffalo d-man 'Hank' Tallinder 63 games just to get to +12. Sekera is a +9 since being called up March 4. When Sekera is on the on the "positive side of things" in March, the Sabres are 4-0. Combined, Weber and Sekera have played just two games in the NHL before this season.
With Teppo Numminen coming back soon, the depleted Buffalo defense will receive a real boost from a seasoned veteran.
A big reason for the Sabres' recent goal-scoring outburst (20 goals in three games) has been the play of Jason Pominville and Derek Roy. Pominville is +9 in the last three games and has scored three goals while tallying six assists. He was named captain on March 2, and he seems to be performing as one thus far. Roy was also named alternate captain on March 2. Like Pominville, Roy has been just as hot in his last three games, scoring two goals, five assists, and posting a +7.
When push comes to shove, the playoff rush doesn’t always depend on how well a team must play to grab that eighth seed, but rather how poorly the teams in front of them do.
The Boston Bruins are 2-5-3 in their last ten games and the Philadelphia Flyers aren’t much better at 4-3-3. They have also surrendered the first goal in 16 of their last 22 games, making games even tougher to win by playing catch-up.
With all of those aspects of the game coming into play, the Sabres will be able to pull ahead of at least the Bruins or Flyers, if not both. Even as an eight-seed, the Sabres would still be strong, especially in a conference that has had several different teams take over the top spot in the last month.
The bottom line is that the Buffalo Sabres will be in the playoffs come April, and you better believe they will make some sort of run when they get there.