The Buffalo Sabres will be celebrating the team’s Golden Season in 2019-20. The full schedule includes five preseason games in September, prior to a season opener on the road on Thursday, Oct. 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In addition to a commemorative jersey to be featured at 13 home contests, the team has a slew of activities planned to celebrate the team’s 50th anniversary. New Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger will attempt to guide the team to its first playoff appearance since 2011.
What follows are some must-see games, theme nights, significant stretches and other interesting events to note on your calendar.
Sabres Preseason Games
The Sabres host two preseason games at KeyBank Center this September.
- Saturday, Sept. 21 – Sabres vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m.)
- Wednesday, Sept. 25 – Sabres vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m.)
Sabres Regular Season Games
Opening Night and Captains Night
The Sabres’ home opener is on Saturday, Oct. 5 against the new-look New Jersey Devils. The Devils added 2019 No. 1 overall pick, Jack Hughes, acquired P.K. Subban from the Nashville Predators, inked unrestricted free agent Wayne Simmonds and traded for Nikita Gusev of the Vegas Golden Knights.
Prior to the game, there will be a ceremony that includes team captains from throughout the Sabres’ history.
West Coast Roadie
The team’s first West Coast road trip includes a stop in Anaheim to face the Ducks on October 16, Los Angeles on October 17 and San Jose on October 19. In a schedule oddity, the Sabres then host the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 22–a home-and-home series with a California team.
A November to Remember
November is a taxing month for the Sabres. They have five sets of back-to-back games as well as travel to Sweden.
Saturday, Nov. 2 vs New York Islanders – For this night, the Sabres will help celebrate the franchise’s inaugural team and their first decade of history. As the clock is turned back, there will be nods to special players, The French Connection and the famous Fog Game.
The team will have five days off, from Sunday, Nov. 3 through Nov. 7 as they embark on a trip to Stockholm, Sweden as part of the NHL’s 2019 Global Series. The first game of the back-to-back set against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Ericsson Globe will be played at 2 p.m. (8 p.m. in Sweden) on Friday, Nov. 8 while the second will be played at 1 p.m. EST (7 p.m. in Sweden) on Saturday, Nov. 9. Fellow Swedes Rasmus Dahlin and Lightning blueliner Victor Hedman will have more than their share of guests in attendance.
The Sabres have not played outside North America since opening the 2011-12 season in Helsinki and Berlin.
Hockey Fights Cancer
Saturday, Nov. 16 vs Ottawa Senators – The Sabres team up with the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer night in partnership with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Once again, the Sabres and their fans will unite as a greater hockey community in support of cancer patients and their families.
Thanksgiving will be sandwiched around a pair of games against Canadian foes. The Flames are in town on Thanksgiving eve, while the first meeting of the season with the arch-rival Maple Leafs comes the day after we stuff our faces with turkey and pumpkin pie.
Monday, Dec. 2 vs. New Jersey Devils – The Sabres will commemorate their founding on the 50-year anniversary of the date on which Buffalo was officially awarded an NHL franchise.
Stanley Cup Champions
Tuesday, Dec. 10 vs. St. Louis Blues – Circle your calendar for the defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues and former Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly as they faceoff at KeyBank Center. The two teams will also in St. Louis on Jan. 9.
80s Night and Aud Night
Thursday, Dec. 12 vs. Nashville Predators –The Sabres will honor and remember the franchise’s second decade, with a special focus on the building that started it all – Memorial Auditorium. Reach deep in your closet for wide collars, neon shirts and go easy on the hair spray.
New Years Eve
Tuesday, Dec. 31 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning – Sabres fans can welcome in the New Year after a New Year’s Eve tilt at home against the Lightning at 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 4 vs. Florida Panthers – The Sabres will celebrate the 1990s–the black and red goat head and fan favorite players including Pat LaFontaine, Dominik Hasek and Michael Peca.
Thursday, Feb. 13 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets – The team will celebrate the turn of the millennium and the decade that followed. With fan favorites Chris Drury and Daniel Briere, you can bet this night will be much like Jason Pominville’s 2006 series-winning overtime goal in Ottawa – good, scary good.
Friday, March 13 vs. Boston Bruins – This game will mark the most recent decade of Sabres history and will feature players such as Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek, Jack Eichel and Rasmus Dahlin.
“Best Of” Night
Saturday, March 21 vs. Chicago Blackhawks – In a catch-all of sorts, this night will remember the greatest moments, players and personalities in Sabres’ history.
Related: Buffalo Sabres Most Memorable Goals
Military Appreciation Night
Sunday, March 22 vs. New York Rangers – Continuing tradition, the Sabres will join the entire league in honoring our nation’s active and veteran military personnel.
Sabres’ Bye Week
The team’s bye week runs into the NHL All-Star Break, giving them nine straight days off, from Sunday, Jan. 19 through Monday, Jan. 27. After the All-Star break, the Sabres return to open a season-long, five-game homestand at KeyBank Center, including matchups with Ottawa, Montreal, Columbus, Colorado and Detroit.
Fan Appreciation Night
Saturday, April 4 vs. Philadelphia Flyers – The team will close out its regular-season home schedule against the Philadelphia Flyers on April 4. As has become customary, the team will hold its annual Fan Appreciation Night, with plenty of giveaways.
Sabres Schedule: Themes & Trends
Afternoons in Buffalo
The Sabres host nearly 20 percent of their home games (a total of eight) as afternoon matchups at KeyBank Center this season.
- Monday, Oct. 14 (Columbus Day) vs. Dallas Stars – 3 p.m.
- Saturday, Nov. 29 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs – 4 p.m. (technically not considered an afternoon game by the NHL)
- Saturday, Dec. 21 vs. Los Angeles Kings – 1 p.m.
- Saturday, Jan. 11 vs. Vancouver Canucks – 1 p.m.
- Saturday, Feb. 1 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets – 1 p.m.
- Sunday, Feb. 9 vs. Anaheim Ducks – 3 p.m.
- Sunday, Feb. 23 vs. Winnipeg Jets – 3 p.m.
- Saturday, March 21 vs. Chicago Blackhawks – 2 p.m.
- Sunday, March 22 vs. New York Rangers – 3 p.m.
In addition to these games, they’ll play five afternoon games on the road. That means all told, they play 13 afternoon games. That’s a lot for an 82-game schedule.
Pack Your Bags
The Sabres don’t have any significantly long road trips other than a four-gamer from Feb. 26-March 3 that goes through Colorado, Vegas, Arizona and Winnipeg. They have six separate three-game road trips.
Home Sweet Home
The Sabres’ longest homestand of the season will take place from Jan. 28 to Feb. 6. During that span, the team will play five consecutive home games and nine of 10 games on home ice.
The team will play 14 sets of back-to-back games. Of them:
- five sets consist of two away games
- three sets consist of an away game, then a home game
- four sets consist of a home game, then an away game
- one set consists of two home games
- one set is in Sweden (designated a home game, then an away game)
The team’s Western Canada trip to Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver is Dec. 5-8.
The Sabres finish the 2019-20 regular season with 14 of its last 16 games against Eastern Conference opponents, including the regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Flyers on April 4.
Double Duty for One Buffalo
Fans of the Sabres who are also fans of the Buffalo Bills will have a few dates when both teams will have a game. They’ll need to pace themselves.
- On Sunday, Nov. 17, the Bills play in Miami at 1 p.m. EST, followed by a 7 p.m. EST Sabres game in Chicago vs. the Blackhawks.
- A week later, on Nov. 24, the Bills host the Denver Broncos at 1 p.m. EST, followed by a 5 p.m. EST Sabres game in Florida against the Panthers.
- On Sunday, Dec. 8, the Bills host the Baltimore Ravens at 1 p.m. EST, followed by an 8 p.m. Sabres game in Edmonton against the Oilers.
- On Sunday, Dec. 29, the Bills host the New York Jets at 1 p.m. EST in their regular-season finale. Later in the evening, at 7 p.m., the Sabres visit the Bruins in Boston.
The Sabres are scheduled to play five times on national television, the same number they played on national TV last season.
- Friday, Nov. 8: vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, 2 p.m. (Stockholm, Sweden)
- Tuesday, Dec. 10: vs. St. Louis Blues, 7:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, Dec. 17: at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m.
- Thursday, Feb. 6: vs. Detroit Red Wings, 7 p.m.
- Wednesday, Feb. 26: at Colorado Avalanche, 8 p.m.
Get Your Sabres Tickets
The two preseason home games are already on sale to the general public. Single-game tickets for the regular season go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. on Sept. 12. Once again, the team is using their dynamic pricing structure for games, which means costs can change based on demand. Starting price will be labeled by tiers of Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze and Value.
Jeff has been covering the NHL for over a decade for various sites. He’s been with The Hockey Writers as a lead Sabres writer three years, while also writing a satire column called “Off the Crossbar.”