Many of the Sabres are enjoying meaningful games in February

The Sabres have been pretty much out of the playoff picture by the New Year in the past five years

Paul Hamilton
February 06, 2019 - 1:51 pm

Photo: Kevin Hoffman - USA TODAY Sports


Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - The Sabres still trail Columbus by three points in the race for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. For some players on this team, this is the first time they’ve been able to talk about meaningful games in February.

Jake McCabe started playing in Buffalo in 2014. This is the first time he’s played meaningful games this late in the season and he’s enjoying it, “It’s very refreshing to be in this race in February than having that different conversation that we would’ve had the last couple of years.”

McCabe knows many of his teammates are like him. He said, “A lot of the guys in this room have been here for some really tough stretches, so to be playing meaningful hockey in February right in the thick of a playoff race is really important for us as a group because we haven’t experienced that.

“A lot of guys have been lucky enough to be in the playoffs and it will bring another aspect to our game with the guys that have been there showing us guys that haven’t been there and guys need to dig in and find more to give every single night because I don’t think you’re going to find a hungrier group to make the playoffs than in here.”

Others who have done nothing but lose as Buffalo Sabres include Rasmus Ristolainen, Zemgus Girgensons, Sam Reinhart, Jack Eichel, Evan Rodrigues, Casey Nelson and Johan Larsson.

Larsson first played with Buffalo in the same season as McCabe. He said, “It’s been the most fun here since I came here. Every game is on the line, points are huge and it’s just fun to come to the rink and battle to be in the race and we’re going to do everything we can to get in.”

Larsson has missed two games with an undisclosed injury. He was back doing line shifts in practice on Wednesday. He said, “It felt good, it’s good to get practice in here and it felt OK.” Phil Housley added, “We’ll see how he reacts to today’s practice and make that decision tomorrow, but he looked really good in practice today.”

There are only two games in the NHL on Wednesday, but both matter to the Sabres. Toronto is home against Ottawa, while Boston is at the Rangers.


Wednesday’s lines:

Skinner - Eichel - Pominville

Sheary - Mittelstadt - Reinhart

Smith - Rodrigues - Okposo

Sobotka - Larsson - Girgensons



Dahlin - Ristolainen

Pilut - Bogosian

Scandella - McCabe

Beaulieu - Hunwick


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