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Buffalo’s Fast-Paced Development Continues

With two more road wins in the book, Buffalo’s recent performances are impressing many.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Minnesota Wild Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Another set of games are in the books, which continues to give fans more perspective into which direction this squad is headed in.

The latest test was the grueling back-to-back that featured the Buffalo Sabres taking on two of the Western Conference’s best teams - the Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild.

Buffalo answered the bell on Friday night with a bend but don’t break effort, which feature a 14 shot shootout – seven shots for each.

The Sabres were able to hang on and outlast the Winnipeg Jets, despite being overmatched out of the gate.

On Saturday night, Buffalo was at it again.

Their early 2-0 deficit was chipped away at methodically, which continues to be a common theme with this team through 20 games.

When it comes to looking at common themes through the start of the season, we look at Rasmus Dahlin – who continues to develop at a rapid pace.

Dahlin set a career-high on Friday with 22:57 time on ice. On Saturday, he stepped up in a play – something we heard so much about – and put home his second goal of the season.

After 20 games, Dahlin is on-pace for 41 points (8 goals, 33 assists) in his first season – which happens to not be so bad.

It is really difficult to not take the hype and run with it.

The same goes for the performance of this team.

They have found themselves up against better talent but somehow still stand tall in the face of adversity.

Buffalo currently sits in third in the Atlantic Division – one point clear of Wild Card leaders Boston and Montreal. The Sabres sit five points ahead of the first team out – the Washington Capitals.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it continues to be hard to believe this season is developing this way.

Looking at the final boxscores, Buffalo clearly had no business of collecting any points this weekend. When they board the team charter in Minnesota, they have collected all four points. This is a sign of a young, growing team – finding ways to win when all hope appears to be lost.

The next “big test” comes Monday night when the Sabres venture into Pittsburgh to take on the struggling Penguins.

Even with Pittsburgh on a three-game losing streak and only seven wins in 17 games, there is still a mystique with playing the Penguins that might push a little more league-wide respect Buffalo’s way.

Taking team names away and just looking at statistics, good teams need to pad their point totals against bad teams.

If you still are struggling to cope with the early season success of the Sabres, that is ok.

We have reached the point where this team is clearly going to be better than the last few editions of the Sabres – this is the most important thing to keep in mind.

Anything more than last season’s performance of 62 points – which this team clearly will surpass – is a treat.

Pinch yourself – you aren’t dreaming – thoughts of this team being good are no longer something of a fantasy.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the next 62 games – it should continue to be worth watching.