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Sabres Week in Review: Buffalo rolls through week-long road-trip

By Josh Schmit,


Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) - The Buffalo Sabres continued to roll through a tough stretch of games at the end of January and won some important points on a long Mid-Western road-trip.

Buffalo played five games since Monday, Jan. 23rd, and in that span have a record of 3-1-1. The wins came over the Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, and Winnipeg Jets. The losses came to the Carolina Hurricanes and the Minnesota Wild, the latter came from a loss in a shoot-out.

The Sabres remain in the playoff hunt thanks to their performance over the past week. As of Thursday afternoon, Buffalo is only one point out of the playoffs. They find themselves behind the Pittsburgh Penguins who control the second Wild Card spot. They are also four points behind the Washington Capitals who are in the first Wild Card spot.

Here are three observations from the past week of Sabres hockey:
Photo credit Matt Blewett - USA TODAY Sports

1.) Energetic road trip

The bulk of the past week for the Sabres has been spent on the road throughout America's heartland and it was no easy task. The team played four games in six nights with a lot of travel on their plate.

Along with the tough travel, Buffalo faced off against some of the best teams in the western conference but handled themselves very well. The Sabres played with an energetic look night in and night out and secured seven of eight possible points keeping them involved in a tight playoff race.

This is something that past teams have had difficulties doing and shows the energy and hunger of this young group. They want to win, and will ensure they do everything they can to get that win.
Photo credit Jeff Curry - USA TODAY Sports

2.) Defending leads

Whilst on the trip, the Sabres needed to defend leads in games on multiple different occasions. This has been a difficulty for the team so far this year, however in three of their four games, they were able to sustain the lead and secure a win.

This is a welcome improvement as the team continues to push for a playoff spot and provides some much needed victories to help that push. When the Sabres can win close games like that while in the playoff hunt, it can secure unexpected points and help them gain an edge on the teams around them.
Photo credit Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

3.) Rest and reset

With the NHL All-Star Game on the horizon, all teams in the NHL will get some form of a week long break. The Sabres break began on Thursday following their loss to the Hurricanes on Wednesday night, and will continue all the way until Saturday February 11th.

This break couldn't have come at a more perfect time for the team as they have played 14 games over the past 26 days with a lot of travel in between games. The Sabres also sustained some bumps and bruises along the way that held players like Dylan Cozens and Mattias Samuelsson out of games.

All-Star forward Tage Thompson even sustained an injury against Carolina that will now keep him out of the All-Star game. The Sabres need this time to rest up and get healthy and also find a way to reset themselves for the important month ahead.

In past years, this break has been a killer for some Sabres teams, but this one seems different. This is a young and hungry team on the cusp of breaking the longest playoff drought in all of professional sports, and they'll be difficult to stop after being rested.

Photo credit Jerome Miron - USA TODAY Sports

Game of the week: 3-2 overtime win vs. Dallas Stars

The Sabres started out their trip in Dallas and got off to a bit of a rocky start after going down early and surrendering many chances to the Stars. Goaltender Craig Anderson kept his team in the game early on with multiple highlight worthy saves.

The Sarbes turned on the offense seemingly out of nowhere, taking a lead in the second and controlled much of the game until Dallas was able to tie the score in the final minute of the game.

Rookie Defenseman Owen Power was the hero of this game. In the dying seconds of overtime, he netted his first goal of the season that gave the Sabres the win.

This was a statement win for the team who controlled a majority of the game against one of the best teams in the western conference. It was also a good jumpstart for what turned out to be a fantastic road trip.
Photo credit Terrence Lee - USA TODAY Sports

Player of the week: Owen Power

The former 2021 first overall draft pick scored his first three goals of the season in just three games in the past week. Each one was just as impressive as the last.

Power has recorded 19 points in 47 games so far in his first full NHL season. The young defenseman appeared in only eight games last year and recorded three points in that time.

The best is yet to come for the University of Michigan alumni as he continues to improve both offensively and defensively every single game.

Photo credit Matt Blewett - USA TODAY Sports

The week ahead:

All but one of the Buffalo Sabres find themselves on a long nine day break due to the festivities in Florida for the NHL All Star weekend.

The one who will be going to Florida to represent the Sabres is defenseman Rasmus Dahlin who replaces an injured Thompson. The skill competition for the game will begin on Friday at 7 p.m. EST and the all-star game itself will start on Saturday at 3 p.m. EST.

The Sabres will not play again until Saturday February 11th at 12:30 EST. They host the Calgary Flames in a matinee matchup.
Photo credit Losi-Gangi
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