For the Sabres, the next 48 days will be the beginning of the end of their season. The real question moving forward isn't playoffs, but who will be on the team at the end of the season. The trade deadline comes on March 5 at 3:00 p.m. EST.
The team is just 2-7-1 in their last 10 games and the next week seems more like an audition for the team's players on the trading block.
In addition to the trade deadline, the last 25 games will help decide what place the Sabres will be drafting. While the NHL does have a lottery, the worst that the last place team can pick would be second, provided they lost the lottery.
Currently, the Sabres have 38 points in 57 games. They are dead last in the league, behind the Edmonton Oilers who have 47 points in 60 games. Unless the Sabres find a way to make up ground, the chances seem pretty high that the team will end up in last place, with the best chance of the first overall pick.
For the Hurricanes, there is more at stake than the team's trade deadline moves, it's a chance for them to move ahead in the standings and head toward the playoffs. The team knows just how difficult it is to win on the road, but are prepared to do what they can to keep pace in the East.
"With the way we are in the standings and how tight it is, we're going to have to step into this road trip and go with it," Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal said. "It's going to be a really big test for us."
Having 16 days off from the NHL was a good way to heal up and get some rest before the final push.
"It's a restart button for everybody," Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller told the Hurricanes website. "Our goal is to make the playoffs, and we're going to need everybody."
The Sabres will have three straight home games before heading out on the road during the trade deadline.
Face off from First Niagara Center is at 7:00 p.m.
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