Sabres vs. Penguins Preview: It's the end of the road, and everyone can root for Buffalo

Let's send this season out with a bang.

Game #82

Buffalo Sabres (23-50-8) vs.
Pittsburgh Penguins (40-35-5)

Puck Drop: 7:00 pm EST | First Niagara Center | Buffalo, NY
TV: MSG, City | Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Penguins Blog: PensBurgh

This has been an incredibly stressful week, as we increasingly focused on the Sabres finishing in 30th. Yesterday they finished the deal, but I realized I'd become so focused on the tank that something never really resonated with me: the season ends tonight. This is the last time we'll see players don the blue and gold until next fall. Even with how horrible the Sabres have been this season, it'll be tough to go without Buffalo hockey again.

Yet, tonight is a night for celebration. The Sabres have clinched either Jack Eichel or Connor McDavid, meaning fans can all be on the same page tonight for the first time the entire season. Everyone can cheer the Sabres tonight on Fan Appreciation Night. What a way for the season to end.

As we watch the Sabres one last time, visions of the future will jump through our head. McEichel, Reinhart, Kane, Ristolainen, Zadorov, Ennis and more. It's been a long journey to get here, but we are really just beginning. We did our time, we experienced our suffering. Now is the fun part. Thanks for sticking with us through thick and thin, through consistent sarcasm and nervous breakdowns.

Thank you Sabres, and let's go Buffalo.

Two Questions

1. Can the Sabres keep the Penguins out of the playoffs?

Pittsburgh is currently in the final wild card spot with 96 points, only one more than the Boston Bruins. If the Sabres defeat the Penguins tonight, and Boston defeats Tampa Bay, the mighty Penguins will be sitting at home this post-season.

2. How many players will be playing their final game as a Sabre?

This is a question we won't be able to fully answer for a few months. When you look up and down the roster, there are many who could be gone this offseason. Dalpe, Ellis, Hodgson, Kaleta, Varone, Meszaros, Strachan and Lindback could all be gone. Andre Benoit will miss a second game in a row, meaning we've likely seen the last of him in a Sabres sweater. Chad Ruhwedel will fill in again for him tonight.

Projected BUF lineup

Moulson - Larsson - Ennis
Foligno - Grigorenko - Gionta
Hodgson - Varone - Schaller
Deslauriers - Ellis - Kaleta

Ristolainen - Bogosian
Ruhwedel - Zadorov
Strachan - Meszaros

Goal: Anders Lindback