Buffalo Sabres need to take inspiration from the Bills

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 17: A Buffalo Bills fan reacts during the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins on December 17, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 17: A Buffalo Bills fan reacts during the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins on December 17, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

Buffalo fans were relieved last weekend. The relief is not because of the Buffalo Sabres, but because of the Buffalo Bills.

After 17 years of pain, anger and probably tears, the Bills were finally able to make the NFL playoffs. Fans can thank Andy Dalton, as his touchdown pass to Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd sent the Bills right into the postseason, as the Buffalo Sabres and the rest of Western New York looked on.

Sean McDermott’s side will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday. Despite running back LeSean McCoy not being at 100 percent, the Bills still have a decent chance of going to the next round.

Buffalo residents can then head over to the KeyBank Center, where those tears, anger and pain that Bills’ fans suffered still exist.

The Buffalo Sabres have certainly not lived up to the “New Year, New Me” saying. Buffalo has lost all three of their games in 2018, including a 6-2 embarrassment against the Minnesota Wild when Nino Niederreiter scored a hat trick to send the Sabres into the abyss.

It’s been the same story all season long for the Swords. Aside from four players, the Buffalo lineup as a whole has been a huge disappointment. It should be no secret that depth scoring is an issue, while the defense remains abysmal at best.

However, fans shouldn’t be led to believe that some of the Sabres’ roster are bad hockey players. The same can be said about the Bills. During their playoff drought, it’s not so much that some of their players were awful at football, rather, they just couldn’t find a way to win games.

Despite issues all over the Buffalo Sabres lineup, some players still have solid potential and skill. The Bills found a way to turn their weaknesses into strengths this season, with some of their unsung heroes putting out some sublime performances.

The Sabres may be thinking about the draft this June, but they have to remember the perseverance and all-around hard work it took for the Bills to make the postseason for a long time.

It’s very interesting to see how the two teams compare. Tyrod Taylor received a lot of criticism from fans as to whether or not he can be a solid starter at the New Era Stadium? Doubters were probably surprised to see Taylor is capable enough to lead the team into the playoffs.

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The same can be noted about Evander Kane. Everybody knew about Kane’s goal-scoring abilities, but I’m sure nobody expected the level of production he’s put out this season. At certain points throughout the campaign, Kane has been arguably better than Jack Eichel.

The Bills defense was and remains pretty scary to go up against for other NFL teams. Buffalo is led by the likes of Lorenzo Alexander, Jerry Hughes and Tre’Davious White.

Regardless of the fact the Sabres don’t have as much defensive powers as the Bills, they still look to have some solid leaders to guide the core into the future. Look no further than Rasmus Ristolainen and Marco Scandella, who lead the Swords defense in points and possession stats.

Heck, both teams possess a franchise type player that the media and fans alike always talk about. Eichel and McCoy both provide a plethora of stats to their respective clubs, and look to be among the best players on their depth charts.

NEWARK, NJ – DECEMBER 29: Jack Eichel
NEWARK, NJ – DECEMBER 29: Jack Eichel /

The Bills may not have had the best depth all over the playing field this season, but they still found a way to push through it and win. A lot of credit has to be given to McDermott, who found the best possible lineup to put on the field every single Sunday.

McDermott has found a way to lead the Bills into the future with trust, something Phil Housley likely doesn’t have in many of his players.

The Sabres and Bills alike still have to improve several portions of their roster, in order to remain competitive. The Bills will continue to improve especially after a playoff appearance, and the Sabres need to follow in their footsteps.

The overall point here is the Sabres need to find the inspiration the Bills found this year. It’s guaranteed that many pundits and so called experts didn’t have the Bills in the playoffs at the start of the season, but the team went on to prove them wrong.

Experts in the NHL probably didn’t have the Buffalo Sabres making the playoffs either, and they weren’t wrong this time. Analysts seem to know the Sabres have talent, but everybody comes together to know the Swords don’t use the talent properly.

The Sabres are on a little playoff drought of their own at the moment, that will most certainly extend to seven years. The results may not happen this season, but the Sabres have to continue to progress both on and off the ice just as the Bills did, in order to end their own playoff drought.

Next: Which Sabres will be gone by the trade deadline?

Should the Buffalo Sabres take some notes on the Bills this season? Can the Swords find the pieces for next season, or will they have to wait until the future? Let us know in the comments section below.