After defeating the St. Louis Blues today 3-2, the Buffalo Sabres have now won three in a row and four out of five games. After struggling with injuries all season long, the team is getting healthy and starting to show that they shouldn’t be considered straight sellers at the deadline. Now just one point out of a playoff spot—though further by point percentage—the Sabres are legitimately in the race down the stretch. A month ago, you might not have been able to say that about a team that has floundered at the bottom of the league standings for years now.
While the playoffs will still be a tough goal, the Jack Eichel-led Sabres don’t look like they’ll be hard sellers at the deadline. While they might not buy, the team showed it was ready to call the rebuild finished when they signed Kyle Okposo this summer. Now they try to improve incrementally each season and get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
- John Vogl of the Buffalo News reports that Sam Reinhart will still be a game time decision tomorrow against the Chicago Blackhawks. The team is hoping his flu will subside in time to try and make if four in a row.
- Vogl also has a quote from Evander Kane, speaking about getting his 20th goal this season. “I’m not interested in the 20-goal mark, to be honest. I’d like to go past that,” Kane said, after his two point game. He now has his third 20-goal season and is on a better points pace than we’ve seen in years from the big forward. At just 25-years old and after a summer filled with off-ice incidents, Kane was considered on his way out from Buffalo, with many believing his hometown Vancouver Canucks would be interested. The rumors are quieting though, as he continues to play well for the surging Sabres. If they did put him into play, he would likely cost considerably more than six months ago.
- Joe Yerdon of NHL.com adds that the team will not skate tomorrow before they take on the Blackhawks. After the game the Sabres will go into their mandated bye-week, and will get a chance to recharge for the final stretch run. They’ll come out of the break against some weak competition, facing the Arizona Coyotes (twice) and Colorado Avalanche in their first four games after the break.