Sabres LogoWith 12 games remaining in their season, the Buffalo Sabres have certainly made this season a wild ride.  Remember back in November?  The Sabres were winless at home and living in the cellar of the NHL Eastern conference.  I know Pee Wee teams from Hamburg, NY that could have played better.  Fast forward to St. Patty’s Day 2011 and you’ll find them in the midst of a heated playoff race with 4 other teams vying for that last 8th spot.  After losing its top scorer (Derek Roy on 12/23) to a season ending knee injury, most folks thought the season was over.  I, for one, felt I just wasted a TON of money on NHL Center Ice.  However, they didn’t go away and have been one of the top teams in the NHL since December;  thanks in part to a revived Power play (18% success, Ranked #12), a stingy Penalty Kill (82% killed, Ranked #16), and strong play from Drew Stafford (4 Hat tricks) and Thomas Vanek (60 Points).  When you mention the Sabres, most folks think Ryan Miller.  Miller’s been the work horse between the pipes but he’s not put up the same Vezina numbers from last year.  At times, he’s looked tired and out of position … two things you could never say about his play in previous seasons.  I’ve seen him wander out of the crease only to make a lousy play and cost the team a goal.  I wish the coaches would just tell him to stay put and trust the players around him.  Yeah, easier said than done with this very young and inexperienced group of blue liners.

The Sabres control their own destiny right now and that means wins.  They have 12 games remaining, with nine of those games very winnable.  If they get at least 18 more points to finish out, they’ll have a great shot at making the playoffs.