With their shootout loss yesterday to the Vegas Golden Knight, the Buffalo Sabres now sit at 56 points on the season with a 22-35-12 record and a 30th spot in the league standings:
26th--Detroit (63 points)
Having four teams (DET, MTL, OTT, BUF) in the bottom-six doesn't bode well for the Atlantic Division in general, but the Sabres have done surprisingly well going 10-7-4 against their divisional foes. And with yesterday's 2-1 overtime loss, they managed to break an ugly two-game pointless streak on their designated Kids Day matinee game. In the two games prior to yesterday, the Sabres lost 7-1 to the Dallas Stars back in January and 4-2 last month versus the LA Kings in a game where it was 4-0 and their putrid play drew GM Jason Botterill's ire in the pressbox.
Highlights yesterday include very little outside of some strong defensive play by Buffalo, a very exciting overtime and a hustle-goal by recalled forward Justin Bailey who used his speed to hit the zone hard and skill to deke Vegas goalie Marc Andre Fleury.
(vid courtesy NHL.com)
It was Bailey's third goal of the season for Buffalo and his fourth point in eight games.
Bailey and fellow forward Daniel O'Regan were both sent to Rochester this morning to revitalize a depleted Amerks lineup. With the call-up of Bailey and O'Regan, the Amerks went into a home-and-home yesterday with the Syracuse Crunch (TBL) who are currently second in the AHL's North Divison. Rochester lost to Syracuse yesterday and will play a 3 pm matinee today.
Sabres goalie Robin Lehner was in goal yesterday and was enjoying a rock solid game until he got itchy feet and ended up overplaying the puck carrier to his left. With Lehner flopping on the play the puck went behind the net and was pin-balled into the net off of defenseman Marco Scandella who was face down in the crease.
Overtime was a hoot and packed more action into five minutes than there was in the entire 60-minute regulation. Lehner, who did not stop a single shot all last season in the shootout found himself in his second consecutive 'skills competition' and did an admirable job, but Jacob Josefson's lone shootout goal wasn't enough as the Golden Knights won.
With 13 games remaining in the season, the Sabres are in second to last place and if the season were to end now, they'd have a 12.5% chance of winning the lottery to select first-overall in the 2018 NHL Draft.
There is an NHL lottery simulator web site which has become very popular for Sabres fans the last few years, when you go there you can pick the winners for the first three spots in the draft and for today this is what I came up with: