The Sabres worked some magic on Tuesday night and rallied for a dramatic 6-5 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. That win combined with Washington's 4-2 loss at Tampa Bay on Monday leaves the Sabres tied in points (88) with the Caps with two games to play for each team with Washington holding the tiebreaker.
As of Tuesday night, there are actually two ways for Buffalo to make the playoffs:
BEAT OUT WASHINGTON
What the Sabres need to do now is earn a single point more than the Capitals over the final two games. As I mentioned above, Washington holds the tiebreaker advantage no matter what. The Caps have 36 regulation or overtime wins as compared to the Sabres 32. With just two games left, there's no way the Sabres can overcome the tiebreaker. Therefore, the Sabres get into the playoffs if they earn a point more than the Caps do in their final two games.
Buffalo plays at Philadelphia on Thursday, and at Boston on Saturday. Washington hosts Florida on Thursday night and closes the season at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers on Saturday.
BEAT OUT FLORIDA
The Panthers are the other variable in this equation. They lost in overtime to the Jets on Tuesday night. That outcome still leaves open the possibility that Washington (four points behind) could rally to top Florida and win the Southeast division. They too own the tiebreaker over Florida. If that were to happen, that would mean that Florida would have to lose its final two games against the Caps Thursday and at home against Carolina to close the season. In that scenario, Florida would fall to a battle for the 8-seed. As we speak, the Sabres own the regulation and overtime win tiebreaker over the Panthers 32-31. If the Sabres were to win out and Florida loses the division title race to the Caps and loses out, Buffalo would edge the Panthers for the final playoff spot.
Click here to view the NHL standings.