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How Will the Sabres Fare in February

As of right now, the Sabres sit 7th in the Eastern Conference, four points behind the Flyers and one point ahead of the Panthers.  The main question is, what is this team going to do looking forward and can they keep their ground in the month of February.

The Sabres play 13 games in the month of February.  Their schedule is below:

Sabres Schedule

By all accounts, the schedule looks fairly easy with two games each against Toronto, Ottawa, and Carolina.  The Pythagorean expectation formula tells us the same thing.  The expected winning percentages of the each of these teams are .389, .412, and .424 respectively.  On the flipside though, the Sabres also have to face the Ducks twice and San Jose.  These teams are basically the cream of the crop in the league.  So overall what does the Pythagorean expectation formula tell us about the month of February overall.  The opponents combined total goals for is 855 while the combined goals against is 932.  These numbers are so small due to the fact that whether the opponent was home or away was taken into consideration.  Plugging that into the formula gives us an expected opponents winning percentage of .457.  That should mean that the Sabres will win 54.3% of the games in February, or about 7 of 13.  Factor in the about 11% of the games go to overtime, that means that one of the losses they suffer should come in the overtime period.  This gives us an expected record of 7-5-1, which is good for 15 points.  The main question is whether 15 points is going to be enough.

Here are the expected records of the 6-10 teams in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt:

6.  Philadelphia:  5-5-1 (11 points), Expected percentage is .502

7.  Buffalo:  7-5-1 (15 points), Expected percentage is .543

8.  Florida: 6-6-1 (13 points), Expected percentage is .483

9.  Pittsburgh: 5-5-1 (11 points), Expected percentage is .473

10.  Toronto:  6-5-1 (13 points), Expected percentage is .503

This tells us that the Sabres are expected to have the better record coming out of February and may just overtake the 6th spot in the conference.  But, there is a reason why they play the games.