Sabres Week Ahead: Dec. 21-27, checking the standings

The Sabres get a five-day break for the holidays, so let's preview this short week and take a look at the standings.

The holidays are, for most, a time of relaxation, reflection, and renewal, and it's no different this year for the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres have five days off for the Christmas holiday after a light practice on Sunday, and won't be back in game action until Saturday night. Let's take a quick look at that game and then at where the Sabres sit in the standings heading into the holiday break.

Saturday, Dec. 26, 7:00pm - Buffalo Sabres at Boston Bruins

The Sabres travel to Beantown for their first meeting of the season with the Bruins. Boston is having a surprisingly great season this year, sitting third overall in the East with 42 points, just one behind division-leading Montreal. Their power play has been a big factor this year, leading the NHL at a whopping 28.9%, more than two percentage points better than the next best team. The Sabres will have to be on their best behavior to have a chance to steal two points.

Checking the Standings

Things aren't looking good for those of you still holding out hopes of a run to the playoffs. Despite going 3-1-1 in their last five games, the Sabres sit in 13th place in the East with 32 points in 34 games. They're currently seven points out of eighth place, but have a game in hand against many of the other teams also battling for that final spot.

The good news is that, schedule-wise, the Sabres are almost done with the Western Conference, just having a few more short road trips to go, and they've gotten through one of the tougher stretches of their schedule. Many games against Carolina, Columbus, and Toronto lie ahead, so if Buffalo is going to make a charge to eighth, they'll need to take advantage of the teams below them in the standings.

1. Washington, 24-6-2, 50 points
2. Montreal, 20-11-3, 43 points
3. Boston, 19-9-4, 42 points
4. NY Rangers, 19-12-4, 42 points
5. Detroit, 17-9-7, 41 points
6. NY Islanders, 19-11-5, 41 points
7. Florida, 18-12-4, 40 points
8. Ottawa, 17-12-5, 39 points
9. Tampa Bay, 17-14-3, 37 points
10. New Jersey, 16-13-5, 37 points
11. Philadelphia, 14-12-7, 35 points
12. Pittsburgh, 15-14-3, 33 points
13. Buffalo, 14-16-4, 32 points
14. Carolina, 13-15-5, 31 points
15. Toronto, 11-13-7, 29 points
16. Columbus, 13-19-3, 29 points