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Sabres' 2019-20 season comes to an end as NHL announces playoff format

Buffalo finished campaign with 68 points, Eichel led team in scoring

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced today the NHL's Return To Play plans, which includes resuming action with a 24-team Stanley Cup Playoffs tournament. The Buffalo Sabres, however, will be one of seven teams on the outside looking in.

Buffalo finishes the 2019-20 campaign with 68 points and a record of 30-31-8, finishing sixth in the Atlantic Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference under head coach Ralph Krueger, who wraps up his first season behind the Sabres bench. The team's .493 points percentage was their best since 2015-16. New Jersey, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Ottawa and Detroit will also miss out on the postseason.

"This isn't how any of us envisioned our 50th season coming to a close," the organization said in a statement. "Our promise to Sabres fans is that we will come back stronger as a team and as a community. We cannot thank you enough for your loyalty. We can't wait to get back on the ice."

The NHL paused its season due to the coronavirus pandemic on the afternoon of March 12 while the Sabres were in Montreal preparing to play the Canadiens that night. They ended up boarding a plane back to Buffalo early in the evening. The players have been self-quarantining since. 

Buffalo had 13 games remaining on the schedule. The organization had been celebrating 50 years of Sabres hockey with celebrations taking place throughout the season.

Captain Jack Eichel led the team in scoring for the fourth-straight year with 78 points (36+42) in 68 games, which placed him 10th in NHL scoring. 

He set career highs with 36 goals and 1.15 points per game. His season was highlighted by an 18-game personal point streak, where he recorded 32 points (16+16).

Victor Olofsson had an outstanding rookie year with 20 goals and 43 points despite missing 15 games due to an ankle injury. He became the 16th rookie in Sabres history to score at least 20 goals. 

In what turned out to be the last two games of the year, he found chemistry on a line with Dominik Kahun and Marcus Johansson. 

Kahun recorded four points (2+2) in six games with Buffalo after he was acquired from Pittsburgh at the NHL Trade Deadline. He also scored the game-deciding shootout goal in Buffalo's final game on March 9.

Rasmus Dahlin had a successful sophomore season, leading Sabres defensemen with 40 points (4+36) in 59 games. He was on pace for a career-high 48 points. 

Linus Ullmark won 17 games in net, the most of his career.

"I think we've taken a lot of strides this year," Eichel said on March 30. "The NHL is such a competitive league and the parity between the best teams and the middle teams and the bottom teams, it can flip over so quickly. I think we definitely looked at these last [13] games as an opportunity to continue to build our culture and build our team identity and to build towards the future."

Now, however, they'll have to wait until the start of the 2020-21 season for their next game.
 

Ticket Refund Information
Fans who purchased individual game tickets, group tickets, or Mini Packs for any of the six remaining home games by credit card on Sabres.com, Tickets.com, KeyBankCenter.com or at the KeyBank Center Box Office will be automatically refunded in about 10 business days. Those who purchased individual game tickets for those games at the KeyBank Center Box Office with cash can submit for a refund here. Fans who purchased tickets for those games through third parties will need to contact that re-seller about refund information. 

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