Counted out in December, confident in April.

As Buffalo prepares to open the playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers, Sabres general manager Darcy Regier is looking forward to seeing how far the momentum of a second-half surge can carry them.

Seeded seventh in the Eastern Conference, the Sabres enter the playoffs as one of the NHL's hottest teams.

After being as many as 10 points out of contention in January, the Sabres ended the season by going 9-1-2 in their final 12 games to cap a charge in which they were 29-11-6 since Dec. 28.

The 64 points Buffalo gained over that span is second to the Vancouver Canucks, the Presidents' Trophy winners who closed with a 33-11-4 spurt.