The Sabres schedule was released earlier this week and they’ll begin their 50th season on the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Here are some highlights to look forward to:
The first game of the year is on Thursday, October 3rd in Pittsburgh against a Penguins team the Sabres did surprisingly well against last season. The home opener is two nights later when Jack Hughes and the New Jersey Devils come to town.
Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin will be making a homecoming to Sweden when the Sabres take on the fellow Swede Victor Hedman and the Tampa Bay Lightning November 8th and 9th in Stockholm for the NHL Global Series.
Road Tests Throughout
Last year when Buffalo opened the season on fire, part of their success was due to a lot of home games early on. This year, Buffalo is very road-heavy during the first half of the year with 22 road games in the first 41 games (23 if you include the “home” Sweden game).
Additionally, Buffalo has a stretch of five road games out of six in November and six road games out of eight in December. At the end of February, Buffalo plays six road games out of seven heading into March. Buffalo will be tested early and often on the road, which they were a putrid 12-24-5 last season.
For those living or traveling to Buffalo for Thanksgiving, the Sabres have home games on Wednesday night against the Calgary Flames and Friday against the rival Toronto Maple Leafs in their first bout of the season. These games should be popular ones for fans with both teams bringing in a ton of star power with the Flames led by Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan while Toronto brings familiar faces Auston Matthews and John Tavares… (Mitch Marner TBD)
New Years Eve Showdown
The Sabres host the Tampa Bay Lightning on New Year’s Eve with a chance to take down last year’s best team in the regular season. This should be a great test for the Sabres to see where they are, especially considering this will be game No. 41 of the season, marking the halfway point.
While the first half of the year features a lot of road trips, the second half sees Buffalo get a stretch after the All-Star break with nine games at home out of 10 from late January through mid-February. Buffalo has their last big road trip after that and this will be their chance to really gain some points if they want to make the playoffs.
Back-to-Back Divisional Games
In a weird scheduling quirk the Sabres host Toronto on Friday, Nov 29th and then go to Toronto on Saturday, Nov 30th. They also host the Bruins on Friday, Dec 27th and go to Boston Sunday, Dec 29th. The two games against the Lightning in Sweden is a back-to-back as well, of course.
Toward the end of the season, Buffalo will take on a non-division opponent two games in a row. The Carolina Hurricanes come to Buffalo on March 15th before the Sabres return the favor two days later.
The Sabres also have back-to-back games against a Western Conference opponent. They take on the San Jose Sharks on the road in mid-October and welcome them back to KeyBank Center just a few days later.
Top 5 Home Games:
5. Pittsburgh Penguins on March 5th- This is the only home matchup the Sabres have against the Penguins this year. With Sidney Crosby turning 32 in August and the Penguins, in general, aging this may be one of the last times you can see this group of Penguins and Crosby at the height of their powers.
4. Boston Bruins on December 27th – The Sabres host the defending conference champions in a game that always brings out emotion. Perhaps the Sabres can match Boston’s energy in a game that is always a barometer test for Buffalo fans.
3. Vegas Golden Knights on January 14th – There is not a more entertaining hockey team in the NHL currently the the Knights who were a bad referee call away from possibly another run to the cup.
2. Toronto Maple Leafs on November 29th – This 4 p.m. afternoon showdown right after Thanksgiving is always a great game and both teams have a lot to prove in very different ways.
1. St. Louis Blues on November 10th – Ryan O’Reilly returns to Buffalo as the Stanley Cup MVP and Selke Winner against a Sabres team which imploded down the stretch last year and has major issues across the board. There are many Sabre fans who are quite upset with how events turned out and will be expressing their frustration.
Day Date H/A Opponent Time Network Thursday 10/3 Away Penguins W 3-1 Saturday 10/5 Home Devils W 7-2 Monday 10/7 Away Blue Jackets L 4-3 (OT) Wednesday 10/9 Home Canadiens W 5-4 (OT) Friday 10/11 Home Panthers W 3-2 (SO) Monday 10/14 Home Stars W 4-0 Wednesday 10/16 Away Ducks L 5-2 Thursday 10/17 Away Kings W 3-0 Saturday 10/19 Away Sharks W 4-3 Tuesday 10/22 Home Sharks W 4-3 (OT) Thursday 10/24 Away Rangers L 6-2 Friday 10/25 Away Red Wings W 2-0 Monday 10/28 Home Coyotes L 3-2 (SO) Friday 11/1 Away Capitals L 6-1 Saturday 11/2 Home Islanders L 1-0 Friday 11/8 Sweden Lightning L 3-2 NBCSN Saturday 11/9 Sweden Lightning L 5-3 Thursday 11/14 Home Hurricanes L 5-4 (OT) Saturday 11/16 Home Senators W 4-2 Sunday 11/17 Away Blackhawks L 4-1 Tuesday 11/19 Home Wild L 4-1 Thursday 11/21 Away Bruins L 3-2 Sunday 11/24 Away Panthers W 5-2 Monday 11/25 Away Lightning L 5-2 Wednesday 11/27 Home Flames L 3-2 (OT) Friday 11/29 Home Maple Leafs W 6-4 Saturday 11/30 Away Maple Leafs L 2-1 (OT) Monday 12/2 Home Devils W 7-1 Thursday 12/5 Away Flames L 4-3 Saturday 12/7 Away Canucks L 6-5 (OT) Sunday 12/8 Away Oilers W 3-2 (OT) Tuesday 12/10 Home Blues W 5-2 NBCSN Thursday 12/12 Home Predators W 4-3 Saturday 12/14 Away Islanders L 3-2 (OT) Tuesday 12/17 Away Maple Leafs L 5-3 NBCSN Thursday 12/19 Away Flyers L 6-1 Saturday 12/21 Home Kings W 3-2 Monday 12/23 Away Senators L 3-1 Friday 12/27 Home Bruins L 3-0 Sunday 12/29 Away Bruins L 3-2 Tuesday 12/31 Home Lightning L 6-4 Thursday 1/2 Home Oilers W 3-2 (OT) Saturday 1/4 Home Panthers W 3-2 Thursday 1/9 Away Blues L 5-1 Saturday 1/11 Home Canucks L 6-3 Sunday 1/12 Away Red Wings W 5-1 Tuesday 1/14 Home Knights W 4-2 Thursday 1/16 Away Stars W 4-1 Saturday 1/18 Away Predators L 2-1 Tuesday 1/28 Home Senators L 5-2 Thursday 1/30 Home Canadiens L 3-1 Saturday 2/1 Home Blue Jackets W 2-1 (OT) Tuesday 2/4 Home Avalanche L 6-1 Thursday 2/6 Home Red Wings L 4-3 (SO) NBCSN Friday 2/7 Away Rangers W 3-2 Sunday 2/9 Home Ducks L 3-2 Tuesday 2/11 Home Red Wings W 3-2 Thursday 2/13 Home Blue Jackets W 4-3 (OT) Sunday 2/16 Home Maple Leafs W 5-2 Tuesday 2/18 Away Senators L 7-4 Saturday 2/22 Away Penguins W 5-2 Sunday 2/23 Home Jets W 2-1 Wednesday 2/26 Away Avalanche L 3-2 NBCSN Friday 2/28 Away Knights L 4-2 Saturday 2/29 Away Coyotes L 5-2 Tuesday 3/3 Away Jets L 3-1 Thursday 3/5 Home Penguins L 4-2 Saturday 3/7 Away Flyers L 3-1 Monday 3/9 Home Capitals W 3-2 (SO) Thursday 3/12 Away Canadiens 7 p.m. Friday 3/13 Home Bruins 7 p.m. Sunday 3/15 Home Hurricanes 5 p.m. Tuesday 3/17 Away Hurricanes 7 p.m. Thursday 3/19 Away Panthers 7 p.m. Saturday 3/21 Home Blackhawks 2 p.m. Sunday 3/22 Home Rangers 3 p.m. Tuesday 3/24 Away Canadiens 7 p.m. Thursday 3/26 Away Islanders 7 p.m. Saturday 3/28 Away Wild 8 p.m. Monday 3/30 Home Capitals 7 p.m. Thursday 4/2 Away Devils 7 p.m. Saturday 4/4 Home Flyers 7 p.m.