If you ask me, I would say the Buffalo Sabres have the biggest opportunity they've had for success in a while. They're winning games by playing well on both sides of the ice, mainly the defensive side.
Their goalie, Ryan Miller, is the best in the NHL right now, leading the league in save percentage and coming in second in GAA (I don't count Rask because he's only played in 18 games). However, that's something you probably already know.
The Sabres' defense has been the storyline around the team for the entire season. The Sabres are showing why a solid defense beats a solid offense.
The thing about those three teams is that they are out of the top eight. They have been scoring a lot, but have not been able to play solid defense.
If you were to ask me, I'd say that they had the saying backwards. The best offense is actually a strong defense.
I talked about this in another article that I wrote (read article ) that talked about the new NHL, and how the biggest mistake with the new rules is the emphasis on offense.
The Sabres have shown that to be true during the first half of the season. Their offense is 15th in the NHL, but they are still second in the Eastern Conference.
You compare this to other teams that are beating the Sabres in offense, but aren't even in the top eight because their offense can't keep up with the mistakes of their defense. Buffalo has figured out the system they need to win.
Honestly, I think that it's a really good thing that they can score over 30 fewer goals than the Capitals, and still be ahead of them in the standings.
I'm going to say the same thing as everybody else: The Sabres will go far because of a strong defense.
See more of my NHL opinions at Tips for Hockey