Don’t look now folks but the Buffalo Sabres have won their last two games. Through 43 games, Buffalo has compiled a 17-22-4 record and has accrued 38 points. The club is now nine points out of a wild card position and they’ll need to continue their winning ways to climb up the standings.
The Sabres will head home to the First Niagara Center for a back-to-back two-game homestand before heading back on the road for a tilt against the Arizona Coyotes. Buffalo will face two conference foes during this homestand which provides an opportunity to gain ground in the standings. Here is a look at the clubs that the Sabres will face when they return home.
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Friday, January 15th: Bruins vs. Sabres
Buffalo’s first game of this homestand is a tilt against the Boston Bruins. The Sabres defeated the Bruins in their first clash of the season back on December 26th by a 6-3 score. Through 43 games played, the six goals scored against Boston was the most goals the Sabres have scored in a single game so far this season. Ryan O’Reilly and Jack Eichel each had two goals during this contest.
The Bruins currently have 47 points and the club holds the final wild card position in the Eastern Conference. Consequently, the outcome of Friday’s game will have implications for the overall standings. The Bruins are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games but they have an impressive 12-4-3 road record this season.
Patrice Bergeron leads the Bruins with 38 points and he will represent Boston in the upcoming NHL All Star game. Meanwhile, 23-year-old forward Ryan Spooner is also having a strong season. In 41 games, the youngster has notched nine goals and 29 points including 5 points in his last 5 games.
Saturday, January 16th: Capitals vs. Sabres
The Washington Capitals currently have the NHL’s best record. Through 42 games, the Capitals have an impressive record of 32-7-3 and 67 points. The next closest team, the Dallas Stars, is five points behind Washington.
Buffalo has played two spirited contests against the Capitals already this season. Washington won both of these games outscoring the Sabres by a combined 7-2 margin. Zemgus Girgensons and Brian Gionta scored the Sabres’ two goals against Washington this season.
The Sabres have struggled on the power play against the Capitals this season. Buffalo has gone 0 for 7 during their two games against Washington. Buffalo will need to find a way to capitalize, no pun intended, on their opportunities with the man advantage to help them secure a victory.
Alexander Ovechkin is having an outstanding season and he recently scored his 500th career NHL goal. Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals scored with 26 and he will represent the Capitals at the NHL All Star game in Nashville. Nicklas Backstrom will also represent Washington at the All Star game and he leads the Capitals with 41 points.
Tim joined The Hockey Writers in July 2013. He began his tenure with THW by covering the Minnesota Wild and he now writes on the Buffalo Sabres. Tim completed his undergraduate and graduate work at the University at Buffalo. In addition, he is a published historian and a Baltimore Orioles Contributing Writer for LegendsOnDeck.com. Tim’s work for THW has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @TOHockeyTHW