Raise you hand if you figured the Sabres were dead in the water by the end of December. Excuse me while remove my hand from the air, as I find that many fans are probably eating their words right now, as the Sabres are just a good 12-game stretch from making the playoffs.
Watching the team before January 1st was a maddening experience. Cruising to a record of 14-19-4 in the first three months, it’s practically a miracle this team has made it to where they are today. They’re barely holding on to the 8th spot right now, tied in points with Carolina, but the progress they’ve made is unbelievable.
Since Derek Roy went out with a torn quad, players like Thomas Vanek and Tyler Ennis have stepped up. Vanek has 35 points in his past 32 games, and Ennis has 25 points in his past 33 games. It’s no question that these players have stepped up to the plate to move this team forward.
While having a few clunkers, Miller has been performing much better at this point of the season as well, especially since Lindy Ruff seems to have finally found a backup goalie worth relying on in Jhonas Enroth. Giving Miller some much needed rest every once and a while seems to put him back into focus when it’s his turn after a much needed break.
All of these factors combined, and we may finally have a playoff hockey team just in time as the NHL season comes to a close. We’ll know in 12 games if all of it will be enough.