This has been a ruff new year for the professional hockey teams of New York, as they all have started it off with a struggle.
The Buffalo Sabres were sent to there 10th straight lose when they lost to the New York Rangers. The Sabres have not won in 2008. They have not won a game since they beat the Philadelphia Flyers in a shootout on December 22. Since then the Sabres have lost 5 games in overtimes or shootout and 5 in regulation. Last year the Sabres had the NHL’s best record and were eliminated in the Conference Championship by division foe Ottawa. Then the Sabres lost their biggest stars in Chris Drury (New York Rangers) and Daniel Briere (Philadelphia Flyers) in free agency. This year the Sabres currently stand in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, and this losing streak had spun them out of playoff talk, for now.
The New York Rangers may have beaten the Buffalo Sabres, but who can’ beat the Sabres right now? The Rangers are struggling as well. In their last eight games the Rangers are 2-5-1. The Rangers have fallen from 7th place in the Conference to 10th. However a few weeks ago they were not in the top 8. They made a lot of big off season signing s to avoid this kind of thing and my feeling is they will turn it around.
The New York Islanders have also struggled. They ended up getting a win tonight against the Devils, only their third in the past 8 games. The same as the Rangers. They have struggles in one goal games as they have a great goaltender in Rick DiPietro and rarely will he put them in a huge hole during a game. The Islanders currently sit in 7th place and look like they are on the way out of their current slump.
My prediction for the rest of the season for these three team is that the Islanders will be the 7th or 8th seed, the Rangers will push on up to 6 or 7 and the Sabres will drop from the playoff race by mid March.