It’s been one hell of a ride watching the Sabres play over this six game win streak.
Watching the team win night after night, and battle back from multiple goal deficits and take down some of the NHL’s best has myself, and Sabres fans all over reminiscing about the 2005 era Sabres.
And for good reason, it’s been a long time coming for Sabres fans and for the team… but we can legitimately say the Sabres are back.
Last night as I drove home listening to the third period on the radio, I couldn’t believe it when Casey Mittelstadt tied the game at 4 and erased a Penguins 3-goal lead… after Eichel score the OT winner I sat in my car speechless.
I don’t know how to react to this team anymore becuase after this stretch there is nothing that this team can do that will surprise me.
For the first time since 2008-2009 the Sabres have won six straight games, and these wins have come against some of the elite teams in the NHL. They beat Tampa Bay 2-1, came back against the Jets and the Wild on back-to-back nights, and even though the Penguins are in a rough stretch, coming back from a 3-goal lead in 35 minutes is a huge accomplishment.
And if you look ahead on the schedule it’s possible that this win streak could grow even longer… the Sabres host Philadelphia on national TV Wednesday night and that is a very winnable game. Then they face Montreal and Detroit… so there is a chance that they can keep this thing going and keep the city of Buffalo on their feet for a few more days.
After watching this team last season it’s unfathomable to think that the Sabres could comeback to win in three consecutive games… but here we are and now they are only 3 points out of #1 in the NHL.
How have they been able to do it? Well there is a lot of underlying reasons but for this articles sake I will focus on 3.
-Their best players have been their best players
-The coaching staff
In the past the Sabres have been so emotionally fragile that the concept of a comeback victory was a pipe dream. But this season, comebacks have essentially become the motto of the team.
It’s a game script 2018-19 Sabres fans are getting used to https://t.co/owOSgwORKg
— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) November 18, 2018
In five of their wins over this six-game win streak the Sabres have found themselves trailing by at least one goal. Something that we as fans have been used to seeing.
But thankfully this year is different, they have consistently shown that they have what it takes to battle back on a nightly basis, and have made sure that fans watch their games until the very end.
On WGR this morning Housley said that the players have that next shift mentality, they have a belief that they are never out of it.
And that is a complete 180 from the last few seasons. This team isn’t fragile anymore, they have come together and formed a resilient bunch that has given their team, their city and their fanbase hope for the foreseeable future.
Stars Stepping Up
The one cliche you always here is that “your best players have to be your best players” and over this last stretch the Sabres are getting stellar play from their stars.
stats over winning streak
Jack Eichel – 1G 6A 7PTS
Jeff Skinner – 5G 1A 6PTS
Rasmus Dahlin – 1G 4A 5PTS
Sam Reinhart – 0G 5A 5PTS
Hutton has been a brickwall posting 5 wins while only giving up 9 goals in those games and Ullmark was solid against the Wild after a shaky start.
The team is getting production from everyone else as well, with five different goal scorers in the win last night.
The superstars are doing what they’re supposed to do, and the depth is chipping in as well. We’re finally seeing what kind of impact Jason Botterill had on this roster, and the team is looking like a true playoff contender, rather than a team that can only win when Jack Eichel does everything.
The Coaching Staff
Housely has been on the wrong end of a lot of criticism, and rightfully so. But during this win streak he has shown signs of being a really good NHL coach.
Typically Housley is stubborn and chose not to make in-game adjustments, he also shows signs of being an old-school head coach but over this win streak I’ve seen examples of his potential.
During the Sabres comeback victory over the Canucks, Housley decided to switch up his top line. He moved Reinhart up to replace Pominville and Reinhart proceeded to set up the two goals the Sabres needed to force overtime.
Then during the Minnesota game, he did it again. He put Pominville back with Eichel and that led to the Sabres game-winning goal.
It’s only two small examples, but these are they types of things you need to see from a quality NHL coach. The ability to identify the hot hand and make in-game adjustments to help your team win games.
Now with the city, fanbase and team rejuvenated it seems that we are finally on the cusp of putting the darkest years (in recent memory) of Sabres hockey behind us.
And as this win streak continues, the hype will continue and it’s something that all Sabres fans have deserved for years.