It has been a surprising season for the Buffalo Sabres, who are hanging around the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference with a 24-19-3 record and 51 points. This team has a lot of young stars as the future looks bright in Buffalo. This season the Sabres are currently sitting in third in the Wild Card race, only five points behind the Washington Capitals, who are in the top spot. The Sabres have three games in hand, as they have only played 46 games compared to Washington’s 49. With 36 games left in the 2022-23 regular season, Buffalo’s playoff hopes are very much still alive.
This season has been special as the Sabres’ young stars continue to make a name for themselves, especially Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin. While these two have been next level, they aren’t the only ones producing for this team, as Alex Tuch, Jeff Skinner, Dylan Cozens, and Victor Olofsson have been tearing it up as well. While these players may get all the credit, it has been a team effort in Buffalo, as 14 players have posted ten or more points on the season.
For the Sabres to make the playoffs, they need to continue their winning ways which they have strayed from this month. After a strong December that helped them make up ground in the standings, they have had a rocky start to 2023. If the Sabres can come on strong down the stretch, they still have a chance to make a playoff run. With their third straight victory last night the Sabres now only trail the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins (54 points) in the Wild Card. They have moved ahead of the Florida Panthers (51 points), and New York Islanders (51 points). Luckily for the Sabres, they have three games in hand on both Florida and New York.
The Sabres will need Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin to continue their career years, as both players have been so important to the team’s success.
After breaking out last season, Thompson has not missed a beat this year as he’s seven goals and six points away from setting new career highs. Across 46 games, he has scored 32 goals and tallied 31 assists for 63 points as he leads the Sabres in both goals and points. Thompson’s offensive ability allows him to be a lethal threat every game, as he’s already demonstrated multiple times this season, especially in the game where he scored five goals.
The 22-year-old Dahlin has now posted back-to-back 50-point seasons as he’s been a force on Buffalo’s blueline. Dahlin has been one of the best defensemen in the NHL this season, providing shutdown defense and a high level of offense on five-on-five and the power play. Through 45 games, he has scored 14 goals as well as tallying 39 assists for 53 points. On the man advantage, he has recorded five goals and 23 points. He leads the team in assists and is second in points.
It is now a wait-and-see for the Buffalo Sabres as they have the opportunity to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011. For the Buffalo faithful, this has been a long time coming, and hopefully, this will be the season they can overcome all the past failures of the last decade as they usher in a new era of Buffalo hockey.
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