At least that’s what Kevin Sylvester says. He wrote a blog post that gives the score for every game the rest of this year. He was already wrong about Tuesday nights’ game against the Flyers, although he did say it would be an overtime loss. We’ll cut him some slack for making predictions, so that’s a mulligan.
He says the Sabres will need 94 points to get the 8th seed, which is a bit higher than Mirtle’s numbers but the threshold continues to rise as the season moves on. We both say ten wins will do it, so let’s see what Sylvester says the Sabres do over the next five games:
3/12 vs. Florida: 3-2 win. Defeat the Panthers who will struggle for two weeks without Nathan Horton [finger].
3/14 vs. Atlanta: 4-1 win. Back-to-back home victories will get everyone feeling good.
3/17 at Ottawa: 4-3 OT win. St. Patrick Lalime gets most satisfying victory of his season.
3/20 vs. Philly: 3-2 loss. A surprisingly defensive Flyers team halts a three-game win streak.
3/21 at NYR: 2-0 win. Ryan Miller returns exactly one month after the Scott Gomez hit that caused the ankle injury. Could I have written this any other way?
So yeah, there’s that. The Sabres go 4-1 over their next five, and Ryan Miller comes back to play on March 21. I can’t decide if he’s being coy because of the time and opponent, but I suppose that’s irrelevant. Either way, it’s an interesting look at what he thinks will happen.
My take? Well… that’s one way it could happen. He does admit that the predictions don’t take into account what other teams are doing, so I suppose there are some possible holes. Still, my big thing is that while every other team in the playoff race can afford to suddenly play mediocre hockey, the Sabres no longer can. Even the Rangers only need to play one game over .500 to make the top eight.
Buffalo doesn’t have that option, and that’s certainly an issue for this team in its current state.