Oh, no, here we go again. The 4-0-1 Buffalo Sabres are off to a hot start and could emerge as a spoiler in the top-heavy Atlantic Division. Forgive us if you've heard this before, then ended the season disappointed. This year, maybe, could it be for real?
This once-proud fanbase is desperate to win. Buffalo routinely ranks among the top TV markets for the Stanley Cup playoffs -- despite the Sabres' most recent appearance coming in the 2010-11 season. The Cup-less Sabres last appeared in a conference championship in 2007, after winning the Presidents' Trophy that season. Since 2010, Buffalo has posted two winning seasons and has cycled through six coaches. The Sabres lead the league with their eight-season playoff drought.
Then there was last season. Buffalo teased fans with a franchise-record 10-game winning streak in November. For about three weeks, the Sabres were the toast of the league, the first team to finish the previous season with the worst record and lead the NHL outright in points after 25 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Then they spiraled. The Sabres went 16-33-8 to close the campaign, good for the worst record in the league in that span.