Sabres become 1st team eliminated from playoff contention
The Buffalo Sabres were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention after Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, becoming the first team to earn the dubious distinction in 2021.
The loss extends Buffalo's postseason drought to 10 seasons, matching the Florida Panthers (2001-2011), and Edmonton Oilers (2007-2016) for the longest playoff-free streak in NHL history, according to NHL.com's David Satriano.
The Sabres have 12 games remaining, and sit last in the NHL with 29 points. They've been playing better lately under interim head coach Don Granato, going 5-3-2 in their last 10, but the club dug itself a gigantic hole in the standings during an 18-game losing streak beginning in late February.
Hopes were high for Buffalo this season, as the club made a pair of significant splashes by landing Eric Staal and Taylor Hall. Neither player made much of an impact, and both were dealt away before the trade deadline. Injuries to captain Jack Eichel and starting goaltender Linus Ullmark were also key factors in the Sabres' demise in 2021.