I am writing this note Tuesday March 14th after the Penguins and Capitals have lost but before the Red Wings, Senators and Islander games are final. (The Redwings and Senators are trailing though).
I've seen many comments that suggest for the Sabres to make the playoffs they need 97-98 points, and with a record of 33-28-5 for 71 points - to get 97 they need to finish 12-2-2 - a pretty tall order.
Last few 82 point season, the final wildcard team had the following point totals.
2021-2022 Washington 100pts
2018-2019 Columbus 98pts
2017-2018 New Jersey 97 pts
2016-2017 Toronto 95 pts
2015-2016 Philly 96 pts
The average of those 5 seasons is 97 points - which confirms impressions.
So do they need 97 points? - not sure.
This season things seem to be remarkably tight, and maybe because there are fewer bottom feeders (ie the Sabres aren't iving away points to everyone else) - it looks like a lower total will make the playoffs.
To get 97 points the competing teams all need pretty good records. The records below are the records required for teams in the wildcard chase to get to 97 points. In brackets is the points that each team is currently projected to get based on points pctg.
Pitt 9-5-1 (95.5)
NYI 10-3-1 (91.7)
Flo 11-2-2 (89.3)
Buff 12-2-2 (88.2)
Wash 12-0-2 (85.6)
Ott 13-2-1 (87.0)
Det 13-1-2 (85.7)
Looking at projected points - 92 points will get to the playoffs this year. To get to that level - the Sabres need a still strong, but not unreasonable 10-5-1 record the rest of the way - or a 0.656 winning pctg. Still pretty good - but less than the 0.813 required for 97 points.
Will 92 be enough? ... maybe - might be more like 93 or 94 but could be less - especially if teams ahead of them start losing home games to the Habs.
Winning percentages required to hit various point levels for Buffalo (and what that looks like in wins and losses). I've assumed either 1 or 2 OTL depending on whether even or odd points required.
92 0.656 (10-5-1)
93 0.688 (10-4-2)
94 0.719 (11-4-1)
95 0.750 (11-3-2)
96 0.781 (12-3-1)
97 0.813 (12-2-2)
Whether they can achieve any of these is another story - but this is within reach.
Lets Go Buffalo! (and for tonight at least - Go Oilers, Kings, and Predators!)