Most fans have written off any chance that the Buffalo Sabres can make the playoffs this year. However, with 16 games to play, the Sabres have a real shot at ending Pro Sports' longest active playoff drought.

It's been 12 years since the Buffalo Sabres made the NHL playoffs. If they were to miss again this year, they would be tied with the New York Jets for the longest active drought in pro sports at 13 years. For Sabres fans, it's looked grim this season, to say it bluntly.

Where The Buffalo Sabres Stand Now

The team is only 2 games above .500. They seem to have regressed in several areas after making a very strong playoff push last year. There was a lot of hope and optimism after the team brought in veterans like defenceman Erik Johson and had another year with top players like Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin. Fast forward to now, Johnson was traded away at the deadline, as was their leading scorer Casey Mittelstadt and captain Kyle Okposo. Tage Thompson has not produced like he did last year. At times the defense has been simply terrible.


However, the reality is it was never as bad as it seemed. This season, several positive things have happened. The team has improved as the season has progressed, especially in their defensive zone. Maybe most importantly, goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has found his game and become a legitimate NHL starter. Thompson, Alex Tuch, and Jeff Skinner are starting to finally find a groove. Defenseman Bo Byram, who came from Colorado in the Casey Mittelstadt trade, looks like a huge difference-maker and potential superstar.

All of this is great, and most assumed it would add up to a better season next year. However, it turns out it ain't over yet for the Buffalo Sabres.

How The Buffalo Sabres Can Make The Playoffs

The Sabres defeated the New York Islanders last night 4-0. With that win, they moved only 3 points out of the final wild-card playoff spot currently held by the Detroit Red Wings. The Sabres have 69 points, while Detroit has 72 points. As do the Islanders. The Washington Capitals have 71 points.

The Sabres have 15 games left. The Islanders have 17 games left, and the Lightning have 16. Washington has 17 games left. While they don't have games in hand, they have head-to-head matchups on the way, beginning with the Islanders tomorrow night. A win in regulation there is a 4-point swing. They face Detroit and Washington 2 more times and the Lightning in the final game of the season which could very much matter.


If the Sabres win their next 2, it's very possible that they could be in the final wild-card position as early as Tuesday, March 19th.

If the Sabres can get hot right now, they could make the playoffs and end the drought. Is it a long shot? Maybe, but maybe not. It will be a challenge but it is not impossible. The time is literally right now for the Sabres if they are going to make it.

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Gallery Credit: Brett Alan

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