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Sabres Have Opportunity to Push Towards Division Title

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The Northeast Division has been difficult to figure out this season. The Boston Bruins were the pre-season favorite but they never seemed to build off their remarkable season in 2008-2009. The Buffalo Sabres started to run away wit the division around Christmas and had a double digit lead in late January.

A forgettable February by the Sabres and an amazing winning streak by Ottawa allowed the Sens to creep back in the race and actually lead the Sabres in points. The tables have turned once again and the Sabres now have a nine point lead on the Sens and the Montreal Canadiens.

Most people feel the Canadiens are the only threat to the Sabres as the teams head down the stretch because the Canadiens are playing their best hockey of the season and the Sens have never looked worse. This week the Sabres have an opportunity to make it nearly impossible for either team to catch them. The Blades host the Habs on Wednesday and the Sens on Friday.

The Sabres could have an 11 point lead on both teams by the end of the week if they can pull out home wins against the red-hot Habs and a Sens team that has struggled on the road all season but has fared well against Buffalo. It won't be an easy task but this week should give us a glimpse into what we can expect from the Sabres in April.

Below is a look at the next five and past five games for all three teams.


Sabres Schedule

Next 5 Games

Montreal Wed 03/24 7:30 PM EDT
Ottawa Fri 03/26 7:30 PM EDT
Tampa Bay Sat 03/27 7:00 PM EDT
@ Boston Mon 03/29 7:00 PM EDT
Florida Wed 03/31 7:00 PM EDT

Last 5 Games

@ Carolina Sun 03/21 W 5 - 3
@ Florida Sat 03/20 W 3 - 1
@ Tampa Bay Thu 03/18 W 6 - 2
@ Atlanta Tue 03/16 L 3 - 4
@ Detroit Sat 03/13 OT - L 2 - 3

 

If the Sabres falter against either the Habs or Sens (or worse yet, both), they still have a good chance to win the division. They still have games in hand on both teams and the schedule is not too difficult. You can see the Sabres meet the Lightning, Bruins and Panthers after they play Montreal and Ottawa, all three games should be very winnable for Buffalo.


Canadiens Schedule

Next 5 Games

Ottawa Mon 03/22 7:30 PM EDT
@ Buffalo Wed 03/24 7:30 PM EDT
Florida Thu 03/25 7:30 PM EDT
New Jersey Sat 03/27 7:00 PM EDT
Carolina Wed 03/31 7:00 PM EDT

Last 5 Games

@ Toronto Sat 03/20 SO - L 2 - 3
@ New York Rangers Tue 03/16 W 3 - 1
Boston Sat 03/13 W 3 - 2
Edmonton Thu 03/11 SO - W 5 - 4
Tampa Bay Tue 03/09 W 5 - 3

 

Montreal doesn't have an incredibly difficult schedule but the game against Buffalo is a must for the Habs. They have earned nine of the last 10 possible points but yet the one they gave away to the Leafs is what stands out. Sabres fans know all too well what it is like to be in a position to have to win every game. Luckily for the Habs, they should make the playoffs unless they have a collapse of monumental proportions.


Senators Schedule

Next 5 Games

@ Montreal Mon 03/22 7:30 PM EDT
Philadelphia Tue 03/23 7:30 PM EDT
@ Buffalo Fri 03/26 7:30 PM EDT
Florida Sat 03/27 7:00 PM EDT
@ Washington Tue 03/30 7:00 PM EDT

Last 5 Games

@ Dallas Sat 03/20 L 4 - 5
@ Atlanta Thu 03/18 L 3 - 6
Toronto Tue 03/16 L 1 - 4
@ Vancouver Sat 03/13 L 1 - 5
@ Calgary Thu 03/11 L 0 - 2

 

The schedule for Ottawa is much more difficult than either the Sabres or the Habs and they are not playing well. The Sens are just hoping to make the layoffs at this point and the Sabres are far out of sight.