The Sabres will play a compacted schedule this year due to the lockout. They will play a total of 48 games in 97 days. They only recieve one 3 day break throughout the entire year which is March 13-15.
All of the games are going to be inter-conference which means that they will not be going on long 7 game road trips this year. This brings up the discussion of how will they end up playing on home ice. The last two years Buffalo has been 40-42 at home with that including overtime losses. The Sabres are easily matched with the Bruins as the best team in the division. Thats why I believe they can be a top 5 team in the conference.
It all comes down to the goaltending. Lindy Ruff has been known to wear out his starting goaltender by January, but now he has a backup goaltender that he can rely on in back to back games. With that being said Jhonas Enroth should be getting around 10-12 games this year while Ryan Miller can hold his crease for the 35 plus games.
If April comes around and a playoff spot is not sealed up for the blue and gold we may have seen the last of the Ruff/Regier tandem.
Whether you think they should of been fired a long time ago or not they shouldnt be going out in ugly fashion.
The playing field has been as even as its ever been in todays NHL. One thing for sure with the compacted schedule it should determine an outlook for Terry Pegula (owner) on the future of his franchise.