The Sabres are on the outside looking in. They sit 10th in the East; 8 points out of 8th place. They have lost Derek Roy for the season.
Tyler Myers and Ryan Miller are having disappointing seasons and the veteran leadership has been deemed unfit to play. How can the Sabres possibly make the playoffs? There is a way, but it isn’t pretty.
A start with the look at the numbers in the Eastern Conference will paint a desperate picture. The Sabres are just past the halfway point with a total of 43 points in 44 games. That leaves them trending to a total of 85 points. The average point total of an 8th place playoff team the last several years is 97 points. Leaving the Sabres well off the mark.
Buffalo currently sits just under .500 with 19 wins and 20 losses. The team sitting in 9th is currently Carolina. They sport a .567 winning percentage in the same number of games. This is a considerable lead given the progress of the season so far.
In the past several seasons an average winning percentage of .555 or higher was required to make the playoffs. (for the purposes of these statistics OTL have been disregarded)
A quick glance at some teams they are chasing would reveal Carolina (3 GB), Montreal (4 GB), Atlanta (4 GB), NY Rangers (6 GB), Washington (6 GB) and Boston (6 GB). Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh are even now probably too far out of reach. Buffalo does have three games in hand on Atlanta, Washington and NY and 1 on Montreal, but I find little comfort in that.
The Sabres have a combined total of 14 games head-to-head with the aforementioned teams. They also play the NY Islanders, Toronto and Ottawa a lot over the remainder of their schedule. Buffalo will need to average a .692 winning percentage over the final 38 games of the season to even think about taking a part in the playoffs come April.
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