Buffalo has finally done it. They are finally in a position that a lot of us would like to see them in. They’re in that spot that I have been anxious about them getting into. With 5 games left in the season, Buffalo is now in charge.
As of right now, Buffalo is in complete control over whether they make the playoffs. Buffalo and Washington each have 5 games left. Buffalo is in soul position of 8th place 2 points up on the Caps. Buffalo no longer has to look up at the scoreboard, and see how the Caps are doing. Buffalo has taken off those shoes, and given them to the Caps. The Caps are now in a very uncomfortable position as they now need to rely on Buffalo to slip up.
At this point in the season, teams want to control their fate for the year. Not many teams/fans like sitting back and praying for the teams they’re competing with for a playoff spot to take a nose dive. Teams like that control. Fans like knowing that they have a little leeway.
Believe me, Buffalo only has a little microscopic amount of leeway.
Buffalo had 2 options in regards to tonights game. 1. Show up and play solid hockey, and put everything on the line. 2. Choose tonight to be the night you take off, and play lackadaisical hockey. Buffalo choose option 1, and is walking home for fan appreciation night in Buffalo with a 2 point lead for 8th place. Washington was clearly reeling and struggling to keep up. Buffalo put the pressure on the Caps by scoring early, and by getting a 3-0 lead. Buffalo put the pressure on the Caps, and put them in a hole early, and kept them there.
Great effort. Let me say that again. GREAT EFFORT BY BUFFALO!!!!
So what does this mean for the rest of the season? Buffalo’s scoreboard watching should be focused on Ottawa now, to see if Buffalo can squeak into 7th place, and steal that from Ottawa. It no longer matters what Washington does (unless Buffalo loses). Buffalo is officially, in complete control of making it into the playoffs. It’s now a question of can Buffalo hang onto the spot. The way that Buffalo is playing, it’s definitely possible. Buffalo is playing Pittsburgh, Toronto twice, Philly, and Boston to round out the season. At this point in time, Pittsburgh and Philly are already in the playoffs, and Toronto... Well, enough said (sorry Leaf fans). Pittsburgh and Philly are in the spot where they want to put in an effort, but not get their players hurt. Those games are definitely winnable for Buffalo.
This game had a playoff feel tonight. As a fan, you know that for Buffalo, it's win, and control your destiny, lose and it's going to be extremely difficult to get into the playoffs.. It almost felt like game 7 of a series. Buffalo showed up, the Caps didn’t. The payback? The Sabres are in charge. Want to turn the pressure up on the Caps? Keep winning. All this will take is a couple wins for Buffalo, and a loss or 2 by the Caps, and Buffalo can have their playoff spot locked up by the last game against Toronto.
Everyone wants to be in charge of their fate. 5 games left, for both the Caps and the Sabres, except they are no longer tied. I say this with pride, Buffalo is officially in 8th. No more of this tied for 8th, because the Sabres weren’t. They didn’t have the tiebreaker. But now, Buffalo is in 8th place, SOLE position of 8th place, no tie, no nothing, just Buffalo.
Lets hope that Buffalo doesn’t give the teams chasing them the fortune they gave Buffalo. The Sabres control their fate from now, until the end of the season. At this point in the year, that’s all we as fans can ask for.