I know that there’s a lot of buzz surrounding the Sabres right now. Personally, I’m a little miffed by this. However, I can understand why Sabres fans are very excited with the upcoming games. There’s thoughts of adding to the Sabres win streak with their next 3 opponents. They may even hit the season high win streak of 4 games! Sabres fans are starting to get excited.
And why shouldn’t there be?
The Sabres are going up against the Tampa Bay Lightning (with a new head coach) on Tuesday, and the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Neither team is really setting the world a flame this year and are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. These are two games that Buffalo should definitely win. Then, Buffalo gets to return home and face the Capitals, who are struggling, but are another team that the Buffalo Sabres should be beating. That’s a pretty nice schedule the Sabres are looking at this week.
Buffalo also had a decent trip to Florida back in February. That was the start of their first 3 game win streak that they had this season.
Why my hesitation? Simple. It’s going to take a lot more than just beating 3 teams that the Buffalo Sabres should beat in the first place to convince me that this team is better than they really are.
What sets the good teams apart? They win the games they’re supposed to, they find ways to win, and they beat the good teams as well (or at least give them a run for their money) Buffalo is none of these. They struggle trying to beat even the easiest teams. Hence losing to the Panthers this season once already, and losing to the Islanders 4-0, on home ice.
Buffalo is squeaking out their wins. They’re not really winning with a definitive fashion. They get their leads, they struggle to maintain it, and they pull it out in a shootout or overtime (minus the 8 regulation wins this year). One can hear a collective sigh come up from Buffalo, NY every time the Sabres manage to cling to a win.
What would get me singing a different tune? Well, I thought about that as well.
Following the next 3 games, Buffalo has a tough schedule ahead of them. Starting with an Easter night cap against the Bruins, a trip to Pittsburgh, and the Senators and Devils come to town too. Buffalo then travels to Winnipeg and come home to take on Montreal before the struggling Flyers come to town.
Excluding the Flyers, every single team that Buffalo faces between March 31 and April 11 is a game against a team that would be in the playoffs if they started today.
If I’m going to get excited for this team, they need to win the majority of the games against the top tier teams in the Eastern Conference. Personally, I’d like to see 4-5 wins from that stretch.
I’ll wait for you to stop laughing.
If the Buffalo Sabres want to be taken seriously, they need to beat good teams. It helps that they managed to beat the Canadiens twice and the Leafs once in the past week. That’s a start. But Buffalo should be fired up for those games anyway. Montreal and Toronto are 2 big rivalries for Sabres. It is a good start that Buffalo did pull off 3 wins.
I’m not really too excited for the next 3 games. If Buffalo and management think that this team is good, Buffalo should win their next 3 games with ease. That’s not a make or break situation to me. It’s the 6 games that follow this easy stretch, that will be when Buffalo has their last chance to try to earn some credibility. If Buffalo is to be a good team, and want to be taken seriously, take out the serious Cup contenders.
Unfortunately, I’m worried whether that can happen. The Sabres have been far to inconsistent this season. They need to keep this streak going, and play hard the next few weeks to work their way into a good position in the standings. That starts by winning the next 3 games, and 4-5 games of the following 6 against the top teams in the East.
The Sabres have their work cut out for them.
Follow me on Twitter- @SabresBTB.