Sword Play: Buffalo Sabres - Winnipeg Jets Preview

By Matt Clouden
Kevin Hoffman – US PRESSWIRE

“Just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go an do something like this…and totally redeem yourself!” -Harry Dunne

Three games ago, the Buffalo Sabres were down and out and willing to ship off their captain to the Western Conference for a bevy of prospects. This was a clear indication that they were being realistic about their position and realized that they were better suited to look to the future and not to a last charge toward the eighth spot in the East.

Now they sit a regulation victory away from a tie for ninth place with their opponent tonight, the Winnipeg Jets, and the New Jersey Devils, who are seemingly in a free fall right now having earned less than two points in seven straight contests.

That would put them two points behind the New York Rangers, and possibly two behind the New York Islanders depending on how they do tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers (with the Rangers having a game in hand.)

This does seem encouraging, but remember that two points is actually three. Given the fact that the Sabres have only 11 regulation and overtime wins (ROW), second worst in the Eastern Conference, they would lose any tiebreaker with the Isles or Rangers, or potentially the Ottawa Senators if they continue on their downward trend.

On top of that, the Jets have something to play for too. They are two points behind the Washington Capitals for first in the Southeast Division and would pad their ROW lead with a win in regulation, something they’ll need with Alex Ovechkin on the tear he’s on. While their dominance in the MTS Centre has waned since last season, the Sabres have yet to beat the Jets on their home ice since their move from Atlanta (they’re 0-3).

So it goes without saying this game tonight has some heavy playoff implications. A loss tonight hurts the Sabres a lot more than the Jets though.

Puck drop is at 8pm EST.

Follow me on Twitter for NHL and Sabres news all season: @SwordPlay18.

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