The month of February comes to a close for the Buffalo Sabres and not a moment sooner.
A slate of games within the last 28 days that was said to make-or-break the Sabres potential playoff hopes.
When February began, Buffalo was just three points out of the final Eastern Conference Wild Card spot.
After a 4-7-2 showing with only 10 points in 13 games, the Sabres find themselves much further out of a playoff position.
Heading into February’s final day, Buffalo sits eight points behind Pittsburgh for the final playoff spot.
If Columbus wins on the month’s last day, the Sabres would roll into March nine points out of a playoff berth.
Quite the fall from once leading the entire NHL in points.
Looking on the bright side of things, it was another month led by the Sabres’ big three.
Jack Eichel led the way with 16 points in 13 games. Eichel’s six goals were tied for a team-high and his 10 assists set the bench mark for the month.
Sam Reinhart was right behind Eichel, putting up 12 points in 13 games. Reinhart continued his solid play and impressed throughout the entire month, which continues to be a great development. He went from half a good season last year to a full season of good through February.
Last but most certainly not least is Jeff Skinner. In 13 February games, Skinner put up 12 points as well. His five goals were third-most on the team in the month.
Honorable mention, once again, has to be Rasmus Dahlin. After having a strong month of January, Dahlin followed up with nine points (three goals, six assists) in 13 games.
It is also worth a moment to give a quick shout-out to the Sabres power play throughout February. A top-five unit in the month, with a 26.2 percent success rate on the man-advantage.
On the flip side, there are more than a handful of players who had a dreadful month of February.
It starts with Tage Thompson.
In 11 games this month, Thompson has put zeroes across the board. With only 18 shots in those 11 games, it is easy to surmise why Thompson has not been able to put the puck into the net, but it is more than that. His game appears to have regressed again to pre-benching levels. You know, those healthy scratches that “were good for development” - whatever that means.
Bottom six favorites Zemgus Girgensons and Vladmir Sobotka combined for one goal in February. It goes without saying but that is not good.
As a team, the Sabres had a terrible, horrible, no-good month of February. The month was so bad that, as of February 28, they have allowed the most goals this month – 49. This averages down to 3.77 goals allowed per game. When your offense is ice cold most nights, this is not a recipe for success.
Many hoped that come March, the Sabres would be playing meaningful hockey.
While there are 16 games next month, Buffalo would need a miracle stretch of hockey and a large amount of help to claw their way back into the playoff picture.
We will catch you again at the end of March to see how things shake out.