Could the Sabres end January on a high?

The Buffalo Sabres were fancied by few to break their playoff drought heading into the 2020-21 NHL season.

A 1-3 start didn’t do anything to change the doubters’ minds in the opening week of action for Ralph Krueger’s side.

However, since losing 0-3 at the Philadelphia Flyers less than two weeks ago, the team has taken a turn in a positive direction. A shootout loss to Washington has been followed up with a shootout win in the second game of the series versus the aforementioned Capitals, before Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the New York Rangers.

Currently, the Rangers prop up the East with a 2-4-1 record, whilst our 3-3-2 record only has us in sixth in what has started off to be a very competitive division.


Still, we’re way down in the list of odds to win the Stanley Cup and even odds against just to make the playoffs with and other sportsbooks.

The top four will reach the playoffs this season and we could well be sitting in one of those places by winning the next three. And whilst that’s a tough ask, the Devils are only 3-2-1 themselves, with their 14 goals only greater than the New York Islanders of the eight teams in our division.

Attack, Attack, Attack

Krueger is putting together a formidable attack, now in his second season in charge at the KeyBank Center after we narrowly missed out on the playoffs last season.

Jack Eichel has started the campaign with seven assists from his six games, whilst newly acquired Taylor Hall has one goal and five assists to his name.

19-year-old Dylan Cozens has been impressive in flashes, scoring his first goal in the victory over Washington, and has a further assist in his five games.

Plugging the Hole

Defensively is where the concerns lie. Already three different goaltenders have been used as the boards and social media channels get flooded by fans begging the General Manager and team to acquire a new shot stopper.

21 goals have been shipped in only seven games this season, seeing us tie 3-3 in both matches versus Washington over the past week, splitting the shootout results. We have conceded eight in our last three alone, where the offense has at least stepped up for us.

Three different players have been used between the sticks just seven games into the new campaign. And a fourth different face would probably be a good sign – it would likely mean a new addition to the squad.

There are plenty of experienced goaltenders out there that we should be able to acquire by trade and for whom would be an upgrade on what we currently have. Why General Manager Kevyn Adams didn’t fix this heading into the opening weeks of the season remains a mystery.

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