By the time this post publishes, this probably won’t be true any longer, but the Buffalo Sabres climbed into the East’s top eight for a precious few minutes. They did so by beating the conference’s No. 1 seed, winning a statement game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden 4-1.
The Washington Capitals are moments away from bumping them out of the top eight even if they lose – it appears their big game against the Winnipeg Jets is about to go to overtime – yet the bottom line is that the Sabres are staying in the picture. (Update: the Capitals did indeed lose to the Jets, but in overtime. Check out this post for an updated look at the bubble race.)
This marks a four-game winning streak for Ryan Miller & Co, a scary sight for the East’s top teams. The odds still seem to be against them, but let’s be honest; if you were the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins or Boston Bruins, would you want to face the Sabres instead of – say – the uneven Capitals or Jets?
Buffalo still has a way to go before they have a chance to make a top seed awfully nervous in the first round, but wins like these improve its odds substantially.