What a time to be a Sabres fan?!?! Last week's additions of Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino demonstrated a commitment to winning the ultimate prize-the Stanley Cup. Being committed and actually achieving the goal are two separate things.
Late last month (before the new additions) I attempted to predict the amount of points the Sabres would earn in 2011. As a recap, I predicted the Sabres would skate into 2012 with 46 out of a possible 76 points from 2011.
Outlook: 12 games (3 home/9 away)
The Good: Not much. Buffalo "only" has three back-to-backers. Three of their first five games are at home, so hopefully they'll be able to garner some traction for the tough road (literally) that lies ahead.
The Bad: A seven game, eighteen day road swing with trips to Detroit, Chicago, and Montreal.
My Prediction: 13 points. The Sabres should sweep Winnipeg and split with Toronto. More wins could come against Edmonton (3rd), @ the Islanders (14th), and @ Brad Boyes' former Blues (21st). Another point from an overtime game would be nice.
Outlook: 13 games (9 home/4 away)
The Good: Nine home games in 24 days with only two jaunts to Long Island (4th) and Philly (16th) in between. A Sunday NBC game at home against Crosby and the Pens on the 19th?
The Bad: Consecutive contests four times (including the January 31st game @ Montreal). Only two Western Conference foes so these games will certainly determine seeding.
My Prediction: 20 points. I foresee a sweep of both the Islanders AND the Bruins and victories against Dallas (10th), Tampa Bay (11th), New Jersey on Valentine's Day, @ Philly (16th), Montreal (17th). One more victory makes 20 points.
Outlook: 16 games (6 home/10 away)
The Good: In the busiest month of the season there are several winnable games. The home games are more spread out but the Sabres do finish with three at HSBC Arena in the last 10 days in the month.
The Bad: A west coast roadie to begin March. Four back-to-backs again (beginning on leap year day). Nine games against playoff teams from a year ago.
My Prediction: 20 points. Look for Ehrhoff to fly around trying to prove that the Canucks (3rd) made a mistake. Buffalo also should take care of business against the Jets (@-5th), Canes (7th), Sens (@-10th), Avs (14th), Panthers (@-17th), and Wild (24th). A split with Montreal and four more points in the seven remaining games seems quite plausible.
Outlook: 3 games (1 home/2 away)
The Good: The Leafs for the last home game of the season. Is there any other way?
The Bad: Once again the Sabres end the season on the road.
My Prediction: 4 points. I say Buffalo beats Toronto (3rd) and either Philly (@-5th) or Boston (@-7th).
2011-2012 Total 103 points. That was good enough for the Bruins to win the Northeast last year. Even if the Sabres don't win the division, they should be in contention for a top four seed. What say you? Will the additions lead to a division crown? How many points do you think Buffalo will amass?