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January will be a telling month for the Sabres' fortunes

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Games against top competition and the Sabres closest competition for the top pick will make this month an interesting one.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight the Sabres face the Florida Panthers, the first of 12 games this month. The Panthers are just outside the playoffs currently, which is an oddity when it comes to Sabres opponents in January.

Most of the Sabres foes will be on the two ends of the spectrum. Five of the Sabres games are against teams currently holding a playoff spot, the Rangers, Lightning, the Red Wings twice, and the Canucks. The Sabres will also have to face many of the main competitors for Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, which will all be important four point swings. The Devils, Hurricanes, Flyers and Oilers games will be ones to watch for anyone who is pro-tanking.

The Sabres will also be on the road all but four of the games this month, including two four game road trips.

At this point the idea of the playoffs for the Sabres is becoming very unrealistic, even for the most optimistic of fans. Buffalo is currently 28th in the league, seven points ahead of Carolina and Edmonton. The Oilers moving David Perron today is the latest sign that the Oilers will be tough to fall behind, but the Hurricanes may get a boost by finally getting close to healthy.

Successful or not, this month will be a pivotal for whether or not the Sabres are competitive for the bottom spot or will be sitting a few slots higher.

Schedule:

Date Away Home Time
1/2 Florida Buffalo 7:00
1/3 Buffalo NY Rangers 7:00
1/6 Buffalo New Jersey 7:00
1/8 Buffalo Carolina 7:00
1/9 Buffalo Tampa Bay 7:30
1/13 Detroit Buffalo 7:00
1/15 Minnesota Sabres 7:00
1/17 Philadephia Buffalo 7:00
1/18 Buffalo Detroit 8:00
1/27 Buffalo Calgary 9:00
1/29 Buffalo Edmonton 9:30
1/28 Buffalo Vancouver 10:00