BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Sabres are cleaning out their lockers during the first round of the playoffs once again, but a strong finish to the season has fans feeling optimistic for the first time in recent memory.

General manager Kevyn Adams and head coach Don Granato will met with the media at 11 a.m. to wrap up the season.

The Sabres broke the NHL record this season for consecutive years missing the playoffs, and the drought now stands at 11. But the team played inspired hockey down the stretch, especially since Jack Eichel’s return to Buffalo. The Sabres went 14-7-3 in their final 24 games — beginning with the overtime win against Eichel’s Golden Knights — which is a 106-point pace over a whole season.

Tage Thompson (38) and Jeff Skinner (33) both reached the 30-goal mark, marking the first time the Sabres had two 30-goal scorers since Thomas Vanek (32) and Drew Stafford (31) teamed up in 2010-11. Kyle Okposo’s 21 goals were his most since 2016 and Victor Olofsson hit 20 for the second time in his career.

The team’s young defensive corps took steps forward this season, and added excitement late with the addition of #1 pick Owen Power. Rasmus Dahlin’s 53 points ranked 13th among all defensemen.

Goaltending remains an area for improvement. None of the three goalies who played in at least 10 games had a save percentage over .900. However, turnover is expected: None of the six goalies who appeared for the team this year are under contract for next year, and only Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is a restricted free agent.