Exactly one month ago today, the bottom of the NHL standings looked like this:
Today, with the Buffalo Sabres riding a 9-3-0 record in their last 12 games heading into tonight’s contest versus the Senators, it looks like this:
This is worth mentioning, as it’s expected this summer’s first two draft picks, Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, will become rather good NHLers.
Under the revised draft lottery rules, the team that finishes last in the standings has a 20 percent chance of picking first overall. Otherwise, it picks second. Which is to say, it’s guaranteed either McDavid or Eichel.
If the draft were held today, the Sabres would have a mere 9.5 percent chance at picking first overall. Otherwise, they’d choose fourth or fifth.
Not that the Sabres are complaining. After all, winning is a lot more fun than losing, no matter the long-term consequences.
“The team feels good about themselves,” coach Ted Nolan said. “They’re playing hard for one another and when you do that good things happen. So right now, knock on wood, things are going good for us.”
We just wonder if Buffalo management is knocking on wood with the same enthusiasm. Because despite the much-improved record, the Sabres really aren’t playing a whole heck-of-a-lot better.
Consider: in five of their nine wins in the last month, Buffalo has been outshot badly (30-14 by San Jose; 44-26 by Washington; 44-26 by Montreal; 34-16 by L.A.; and 45-19 by Calgary). Only once, Saturday versus a Florida team that had played the night before in Detroit, did the Sabres finish with a higher share of Corsi than their opponents. They remain, by far, the worst puck-possession team in the NHL.
Anyway, I’d be curious to know if Sabres fans are cheering for or against their team this season. Feel free to share in the comments section.
Obviously, I have a bias here, because…
…and like the Dukes, we play for high stakes here at PHT.