Owen Power, defenseman for the Buffalo Sabres, believes the team out of western New York can potentially make a run towards the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The statement came during the Hockey Night in Brampton event this week. Hockey Night in Brampton is an all-star/legends game that supports the William Osler Health System. This year, the game helped raise over $1 million that will go towards building a new hospital in Brampton, Ontario. At the event, Owen Power was interviewed and said that “I honestly think we can go for a Cup, so I think that’s the attitude everyone has got and the attitude we have to have.” Power continued, “It starts with getting better every day and then we will be in a good spot at the end of the year.”
So, is the 20-year-old defenseman right? Can the Buffalo Sabres make it to the playoffs this year, and fight for the Stanley Cup?
Well, the blue and gold are trending in the right direction. This past season was the closest the Sabres have come to the playoffs in 12 years. Previously, the Sabres best record was during the 2011-2012 season. Buffalo’s 39-32-11 record had them finishing the regular season with 89 points, which was 3 points shy of the 8th-seeded Ottawa Senators. Last year, the Buffalo Sabres finished the season with a record of 42-33-7. Their 91 points placed them 5th in the Atlantic Division, 1 point behind future Eastern Conference Champions, the Florida Panthers.
Buffalo’s biggest strength last year was their offense, and it’s ability to excel on any given night. Buffalo’s offense finished 3rd overall in Goals For (296) and in Goals per Game (3.57). They were also top 10 in the league in Power Play percent (23.4%), total shots attempted (2665), and scoring percentage (11.0%).
Part of the struggle for Buffalo recently has been consistency at goaltender. The blue and gold have had eight different starting goaltenders in the past two years. As a team, the Sabres averaged 3.62 Goals Against per game, which is seventh highest in the league. The Sabres also finished 23rd in save percentage with a .896.
If the Buffalo Sabres are going to make a Stanley Cup playoff push, Owen Power and the rest of the defense will be a major factor. The Sabres allowed 300 goals against this season, which was 7th most in the NHL. Buffalo was also 7th in total shots allowed (2,710). Buffalo had a Penalty Kill Percentage of 73.0%, which ranked 28th in the league. The young goalies the Sabres have, such as Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Devon Levi, will look to the defensemen for support. The Sabres defensive core of Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power, Mattias Samuelsson, added veterans Erik Johnson and Connor Clifton in the offseason. Buffalo hopes their new additions will help them this upcoming season.
One thing is for certain, it will be fun to watch and see if this young and upcoming team will be able to make gain an edge in the Atlantic Division, and potentially break their 12 year playoff curse.
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