During this upcoming week, the Sabres will continue on what seems to be like an endless road trip. While they did just have their home opener Friday night against Carolina, 6 out of 7 games to start the season will be played outside the confines of the First Niagara Center. Within the coming week, the Sabres will head to Montreal, Florida, and Tampa Bay. Having these kind of extended road trips to start the season is something that no team wishes for, but it is a natural part of the season, and the players adapt to it. With that being said, this is not entirely a bad thing for the Sabres. Last season, the Sabres were able to amass a record of 22-13-6 on the road, earning them 50 out of their eventual 96 points.
Often, it is pointed out that the Sabres try and play too fancy in front of the home crowd and put on a show rather than win a hockey game. Only one game has been played inside the FNC this year, and the Sabres have a lot of time to prove they are a different team this season. In the games played outside the FNC so far the team has looked great, They have been able to combine scoring, defense, and outstanding goal-tending into solid games and leave the games with the two points they came for.
These road games could be just the thing the Sabres need for them to be able to be the same team at home that they are on the road. If the Sabres are able to put together a successful string of games to their current road trip and take 4 out of 6 points, they should return home ready to prove this isn’t the same team of the past. The road trip should help them because it will build confidence and show them that if they play there game and follow the system they will be successful. This should hopefully give the players the attitude that if they do well on the road, the Sabres should be able to apply this at home and get the wins for the home crowd. The Sabres seemingly play a different game at home where expectations are higher and the pressure to produce is greater. With all the expectations and new improvements around them, they might just be a little nervous about the whole situation. (Editor’s Note: They shouldn’t be. They’re professionals, for crying out loud.)
If you ask any player, each one will tell you for this team to win the Cup, they will have to play well both on the road as well as at home, and if you’re looking for excuses, you won’t find them on this team. You’re looking at a team willing to man up and admit to their short comings.