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Sam Bennett

Race for the top of the draft

If the Sabres season has you thinking more and more about the 2014 draft, here's an update on the race for the top picks.

The Sabres have the fewest points in the NHL with 36 after 52 games.  Edmonton is next with 42 points but Buffalo has played four fewer games than the Oilers.  Calgary has the third worst total with 45 points. The Flames have played one more game than the Sabres.

Keep in mind there is a draft lottery so finishing with the worst record doesn't guarantee the number one selection but it means you have the best odds, a 25% chance, of getting the first choice.

The Sabres have 30 games left including tonight.  12 will be at home and 18 are on the road.  The road has been extremely unkind to the Blue and Gold this season with a 5-15-3 record following the loss in Pittsburgh.  The Sabres have won only two road games in regulation this season, beating Florida and Columbus.

They'll be packing hopping on a plane and sleeping in a hotel quite often in March when 10 of the 14 games will be on the road.  There's a three game trip to Dallas, Tampa and Florida in the first week.  From March 18th-27th, Buffalo will swing through Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Montreal and Nashville.  

In addition to playing the Flames and Oilers out west, the Sabres will host Edmonton on February 3rd so they will have three head to head match ups against the two teams fighting it out for those top three draft spots.
 Buffalo will have six more sets of back to back games while Calgary has four and Edmonton has three.
Out of the 26 remaining games for the Oilers, 15 will be on home ice including 10 of their final 13 games of the season.  11 of the 26 games will be played against fellow Pacific Division teams which could lead to quite a few losses since Edmonton's record inside their division is an unsightly 4-11-3.  Edmonton has an odd schedule over the last two plus months of the season.  Beginning February first, the Oilers will play 4 straight road games followed by 5 straight at home.  Then they have a four game road trip, a six game home stand, three in a row on the road and they'll close out with four straight in Edmonton.
Calgary has 29 games left with 14 at home and 15 on the road.  17 of the 30 will come against Western Conference teams against whom the Flames have struggled. Calgary is .500 against Eastern teams but just 11-19-3 versus Western competition.  Calgary still has a five game Eastern swing that will take them to Ottawa, Toronto, Tampa, Florida and New Jersey.  Edmonton and Calgary will face each other two more times.

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