The Buffalo Sabres scored 3 unanswered goals to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday night, 4-3 in front of their home crowd. Toronto jumped out to a 3-1 lead a little more than half way through the 2nd period.
With the Sabres win, their “lead” is now cut down to 2 points, much to the disapproval of the Tank fans. Buffalo has won 2 in a row, and their tank efforts are looking in jeopardy.
Andrej Meszaros is currently the main culprit giving the Sabres life and energy, as he has 5 points in his last 3 games (4 goals,1 assist). Meszaros looks to be coming alive at the wrong time for the Sabres, which is proving to be extremely costly.
Brian Gionta is definitely becoming a key piece with 11 points in his last 9 games (4 goals, 7 assists) and can definitely be counted on next year to help develop whoever the Sabres draft.
Could the Sabres screw this up, and end up picking at 3 or worse? It certainly doesn’t look promising, as this team is playing with life at the wrong time, refusing to back down despite the very apparent feeling of the tank crowd.
Buffalo now has 52 points with 5 big games remaining. If Buffalo is to have a shot at last place, they will need some help from the Coyotes, who have 54 points with 5 games remaining as well. The schedule looks to be easier for the Sabres, withe the Coyotes having 5 games remaining against teams above .500.
Buffalo is off until Friday when Chicago comes to town.
Arizona’s next game isn’t until Friday as well, which may be in favor of the Sabres. The Coyotes should be well rested for their game in San Jose, as their last game was Monday night, a loss at home vs Buffalo.
Both teams play again Saturday, with the Sabres traveling to play the Islanders, and the Coyotes going back home to finish off their home and home versus the Sharks. I can see the Sabres being back up to 4 points “lead” on Sunday, as the Coyotes should be able to steal one of these games. My bet is on Friday.
The Sabres wrap up their season with games on Tuesday (vs Carolina), Thursday (@ Columbus) and Saturday (vs Pittsburgh) and unfortunately, they may end up with 2 wins out of this 3 game stretch. Carolina has been playing decent hockey of late, which should be a close game. Hopefully Columbus continues their hot run of late, 9 wins in their last 10, which should be a loss for Buffalo. The game I’m the most worried about is the home finale against the Penguins. Pittsburgh looks lost of late, (3-6-1) and does not look ready for the post season. The Sabres players will want to finish the season with a bang, and have an opportunity to show the fans the future is bright, if you don’t like draft McEichel.
The Coyotes final 3 games are rough to look at for Sabres fans, Tuesday (@ Calgary), Thursday (@ Vancouver) and Saturday (vs Anaheim). All 3 games are versus teams in the playoff race, so points will be vital to them. I see 3 losses for the Coyotes, and hopefully they can squeeze out an OTL or two, but do not count on it.
Buffalo did not help their tank efforts tonight, and the Tank Contingency will have a high stress level for the final week and a half of the season.
Keep checking in to McEichel.com for the Reverse Standings, and to stay up to date on your Tank Needs.