Monday, January 8, 2018

Sabres/Bills: One Buffalo, one day and a 1pm start for both

Published by, 1-7-2018

The Buffalo Bills' first playoff game in 18 years is the main event for Buffalo sports fans today. Plain and simple. Whether you find yourself in a sports bar or at home, it's full audio with the Bills on the big screen while the Buffalo Sabres relegated to silent minor screens and/or smaller electronic devices. Today is a football event of epic proportions for Western New Yorkers and for the movement known as BillsMafia as their team will be in the playoffs for the first time this century.

Kickoff for the Bills/Jacksonville Jaguars game is at 1pm which happens to be the same time the 30th-place Sabres are finishing up a road trip in Philadelphia with a game against the Flyers.

Since we are on hockeybuzz and not footballbuzz, the Sabres are the focus, but there's always room for a football note or two before we dive into the shallow pool known as the Buffalo Sabres.

There are no other fans in football like Buffalo Bills fans and the BillsMafia has taken fandom to another level. From the shenanigans on Abbot Rd. in Orchard Park, NY to the outpouring of love directed at Andy Dalton and his foundation, it's an all-in approach and devotion that's unparalleled. They have invaded Jacksonville, FL, complete with grills, beer and portable tables, ready for action with a force that's seems to have caught the locals off guard. Chris Ostrander of twointhebox sums it up with this tweet, "Would’ve never guessed Jacksonville has a bigger inferiority complex than Buffalo."

Which is way cool.

So crank it up, Bills fans and enjoy.

The Sabres, meanwhile, are finishing up a stretch of seven games away from KeyBank Center. Normally it would be described as a seven-game road trip but in the middle was the Winter Classic at CitiField in New York City where the Sabres were dubbed the home team despite playing the NY Rangers. Buffalo took that to overtime but lost and then proceeded to drop back-to-back games in regulation for the first time in a month. It's something that sounds good on the surface, but they've piled up five overtime losses over that span and only four wins total.

Buffalo heads into Philadelphia for the last of their three-game series against the Flyers. The two teams met twice in an eight-day span last month with the Sabres holding the Flyboys to two goals each game. However, they dropped the first meeting 2-1 but pulled off a 4-2 win in the next one. Buffalo center Ryan O'Reilly was the lone Sabres player to score in both games and he got the Sabres on the board on both occasions.

Despite Buffalo's struggles over the past few years, they've managed to play the Flyers pretty tough going 5-4-1 in their last 10 games vs. Philadelphia although they're only 2-7-1 on the road. The game today is Buffalo's third in four days and it comes after a full day off for the team, unlike the Flyers who beat the NY Islanders last night by a 6-4 score.

Grab some wings and a frosty adult beverage and settle in for three-and-a-half hours of Buffalo sports as it's been a while since both teams played on the same day in January. The last time this happened was January 8, 2000. The Bills, of course, lost a heartbreaker in Tennessee thanks to the "Music City Miracle" while the Sabres thumped the Ottawa Senators 7-4 on the strength of Miroslav Satan's hat trick and five-point night.

It's been a long-time coming.

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