Sabres miss playoffs for NHL-record 11th straight season
The Buffalo Sabres didn't play Wednesday night, but they still managed to set a dubious historical benchmark.
The Sabres were officially eliminated from playoff contention when the Washington Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3. Buffalo has now failed to qualify for the postseason in a league-worst 11 straight seasons.
They haven't suited up for the playoffs since 2011 when the Philadelphia Flyers knocked them out in the opening round.
Entering the 2021-22 campaign, Buffalo was tied with the Florida Panthers (2001-11) and Edmonton Oilers (2007-16) for the longest postseason drought in NHL history. The Sabres seemed doomed to break the record thanks in part to being in the brutally tough Atlantic Division.
It wasn't an entirely lost season for the Sabres, though. Buffalo was finally able to resolve the Jack Eichel saga, trading the former captain and a third-round draft pick in early November to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, a first-round selection, and a second-rounder.
Tuch, who grew up rooting for the Sabres, quickly endeared himself to the fan base both on and off the ice. The talented forward has logged nine goals and 22 assists in 39 games as a Sabre, and he's signed for four more seasons.
Meanwhile, Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin are both having strong seasons. Thompson, 24, leads all Sabres with 55 points in 67 contests and has lit the lamp 31 times so far, blowing by his previous career high of eight goals.
Dahlin, 21, has 44 points in 69 games this season, good for third on the Sabres. He also leads all Buffalo skaters in ice time while averaging almost 24 minutes per contest. The 2018 first overall pick has shown promise while taking on increased responsibilities this season. He was also named to his first All-Star Game.
The Sabres currently sit 25th in the league with a 26-34-11 record but are 6-1-3 in their last 10 games.