How Big Of A Hole Have They Dug: A Look At The Rest Of The Sabres Season

NHL On The Fly had a statistic up on Saturday that the Buffalo Sabres would need to have a winning percentage of .574 to end up with enough points to hit the playoff threshold set last year, 88 points. While winning roughly 60% of the rest of the team games doesn't seem all that unattainable, let's take a look at exactly how far of a hill that is to climb at this point. 

Month Expected Winning Percentage
November .512
December .471
January .468
February .539
March .523
April .457

While the average of these months is nowhere near the .574 benchmark that NHL Network has set, its not inconceivable for these numbers to change in an upward trend as the month goes on. Following the jump, a look at the hardest and easiest games left in the months ahead.

November

With November half over and the holidays almost upon us, there are only 7 games left on the Sabres schedule in the month. Here is how the month stacks up:

Team Expected Winning Percentage
Vancouver .522
Washington .272
Los Angeles .529
Tampa Bay .689
Pittsburgh .400
Toronto .757
Montreal .413

The hardest game of the month is expected to be the Washington game on Wednesday as the Capitals are far stronger at home than they are on the road. With a recent win though against the Capitals, stealing one here wouldn't be out of the question.

The easiest game left in the month comes on October 26th, the day after American Thanksgiving, against the Toronto Maple Leafs. A home matchup against the struggling Leafs should to the Sabres well especially coming off a dangerous matchup against the Penguins.

December

Team Expected Winning Percentage
Columbus .415
Ottawa .500
Boston .602
San Jose .462
Pittsburgh .400
Boston .139
Florida .255
Tampa Bay .303
Anaheim .741
Florida .630
Calgary .546
Edmonton .661

12 games are featured on the December slate and it starts a rough stretch of games for the Sabres. The high point could be an Anaheim home game on December 21st. The Ducks struggled out of the gate but have played respectively as of late so that expected winning percentage of .741 could decrease as the season plays out. The toughest game will come at home against the Boston Bruins on December 15th. The Bruins have been playing really well this season, as showcased in their 5-2 thrashing of the Sabres a few weeks ago.

January

Team Expected Winning Percentage
Boston .139
Colorado .447
San Jose .437
Phoenix .543
Philadelphia .294
Carolina .651
New York Islanders .427
Montreal .328
Boston .602
New York Islanders .819
New York Islanders .427
Ottawa .500

The toughest month on the schedule at this point sees a New Year's Day matchup against the Bruins on January 1st, a game sandwiched between two mini West Coast road trips. The schedule starts to lighten up at the end of the month with a home and home against the Islanders, a team that has currently been winless in their last 10.

February

Team Expected Winning Percentage
Pittsburgh .477
Toronto .757
Tampa Bay .303
Florida .255
New York Islanders .819
Montreal .413
Toronto .757
St. Louis .653
Washington .402
Atlanta .558
Ottawa .575
Detroit .500

The easiest month on the schedule comes in the shortest as well. With two matchups against the Maple Leafs and another against the Islanders, if the team is still in playoff contention in February, this will be the month to make the move. The hardest game on the schedule will come on the second game of the Florida road trip against a Panthers team that has been allowing a measly 2.32 goals/game at home.

March

Team Expected Winning Percentage
New York Rangers .627
Carolina .528
Philadelphia .257
Minnesota .380
Pittsburgh .477
Boston .602
Toronto .500
Ottawa .575
Carolina .651
Atlanta .558
Nashville .621
Montreal .413
Florida .630
New Jersey .686
Toronto .500
New York Rangers .358

16 games and a seven game road trip are the highlights to March. While there are no major must wins on the schedule, there are a good handful of winnable games including home games against the Devils, Hurricanes, and Panthers.

April

Team Expected Winning Percentage
Washington .272
Carolina .528
Tampa Bay .689
Philadelphia .294
Columbus .500

Closing out the season in April is going to be difficult with good games against probable playoff teams in Washington, Tampa Bay, and Philadelphia.

Looking at expected winning percentages of the Sabres opponents, the team is slated to finish with a record of 38-35-9, good for 85 points. The one major thing to take away from this projection though is that the season still has six months to go and anything could and will happen during it. We will keep revisiting these numbers as the season progresses.

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