Buffalo Sabres: How the Rest of the Season Will Play Out

Matthew Hogan@MattNHLHoganAnalyst IFebruary 22, 2010

BUFFALO, NY - FEBRUARY 13: Thoams Vanek #26, Jason Pominville #29 Steve Montador #4, Tim Connolly #19 and Toni Lydman #5 of the Buffalo Sabres celebrate Pominville's goal in the second period against the San Jose Sharks at HSBC Arena on February 13, 2010 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

With the Olympics in full swing, there isn’t much news from the Buffalo Sabres—but that isn’t going to stop me from writing about them.

It’s been a while since I’ve made some bold predictions—so I am going to attempt to predict exactly where the Sabres will finish in the Eastern Conference and what their record will be at the end of the regular season.

Currently, the Sabres are 33-18-9 and are seeded fifth in the East and second in the Northeast division.

The 33-18-9 record means that there are how many games left? That’s right, 22 all you math majors.

Before I go any further, I am predicting the Sabres’ final record based on the current roster and tendencies that Head Coach Lindy Ruff has shown throughout the season. I am not responsible for any trades—please get rid of Patrick Lalime—and/or any injuries that take place from now until April 11.

I have looked at every game remaining on Buffalo’s schedule. When analyzing the remaining games I look at several factors: If it’s a home or road game, their record against the opposing team this season, how much rest they are on, and what the other team’s schedule is like.

Let’s use the March 21 game against the Carolina Hurricanes as an example of how my brain works. Carolina has come on as of late, but they still are not very good and are a team the Sabres should be able to beat—but look closer at the game.

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Buffalo’s road record is 14-11-3 and they will be in Carolina that day. Also, they are 1-1-1 against the Hurricanes this season and have lost the last two.

Both teams play the day before, but Carolina plays in Pittsburgh at 1 PM, while the Sabres play in Florida at 7 PM. In regards to scheduling, Buffalo is at a slight disadvantage. If Ruff decides to give Ryan Miller a rest on the back-to-back, then the Sabres are at a big disadvantage.

Normally I would give the game to Buffalo, but given all of the factors at hand, I like Carolina 3-2.

Note: If the Hurricanes actually win the game 3-2, no I don’t know where that $20 from the other night went. My psychic abilities apply to hockey only—like when I said that the Washington Capitals would beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 right before the Olympic break.

How I analyzed the game at Carolina was how I examined every other game left on the Sabres’ schedule.

Now on to exactly where Buffalo will end up at the end of the season. I think the Philadelphia Flyers will finish strong and give the Sabres a run for their money for that fifth seed, but Buffalo will hold on by a point or two.

The Sabres will finish the season going 11-8-3, with an overall record of 44-26-12. They will finish second in the Northeast Division and fifth in the East.

And just in case you are wondering who they’ll play in the first round of the playoffs—the New Jersey Devils, who are going to lose their Atlantic Division lead to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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