YWG -- The Sabres are airborne, having left the prairie behind on their way to Buffalo. (Alas, I have more than two hours remaining in the Winnipeg airport, followed by a two-hour layover in Chicago. Oh well.) It seemed like a quality road trip for the Sabres, who went 3-1.
The loss, though, hit them hard in the standings. The 3-1 defeat Monday in Winnipeg was one of those "four-point games" coaches point to as critical.
"If anybody would’ve said before you leave you win three out of four you’d be pretty happy," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "We just lost to the wrong team."
While it's true Buffalo wouldn't have been in position to climb into eighth had they not won the first three games, they could have lost one of those and been in better position. Consider:
If Buffalo had lost to Vancouver, it would have been four points behind the Jets entering their matchup. A win by the Sabres over Winnipeg puts them two points back with a game at hand. As it is now, this version of a 3-1 road trip left them four points back with a game at hand.
"This one stings, but overall I thought it was a good trip," left wing Thomas Vanek said. "We carried some momentum going home. This time of the year, you win one, you put it behind you. You lose one, you put it behind you. That’s the mentality as a team right now."
The Sabres will take today off, but they have to pack again Wednesday. They'll host Carolina on Wednesday night, then depart immediately for Thursday's game in Boston and Saturday's outing in Ottawa.
"We’re not going to be home much," captain Jason Pominville said, "but the game that we are home we’ve got to make sure we play well and win a game."