There was a temptation to just write off the Buffalo Sabres. They are a team on the rise that is still building out its NHL roster. Then, two of its most important forwards went down. Jack Eichel was the first, with his high ankle sprain that is expected to sideline him for up to two months. Then came Evander Kane, who cracked his ribs crashing into the end boards against the Montreal Canadiens.
In a league where every team is compressed in the standings, it’s going to be the teams that stay healthy that have the edge when all else is equal. This isn’t a good start on that front for the Sabres. But their play since Eichel and Kane went down suggests they might be able to withstand it.