The Sabres shootout loss to the Devils on January 12th earned an 8.3 rating for MSG. Considering that the Devils have historically played a sleep-inducing brand of hockey, it was a home game, it was game #9 of what would eventually be a 10 game winless streak, and it was competing with the second round of the NFL playoffs, that's a very good number.
Also of significance from Pergament's article, the Sabres have averaged an 8.5 local rating on MSG so far in the 2007-2008 season. While that's technically an increase, a reporting error lead to ratings figures being artificially lower last season, so the true rating number is merely an estimation. It seems safe to figure that Buffalo drew between a 9.0 and 10.0 in 2006-2007. The lower figure this year, however, doesn't include the gigantic rating for the Winter Classic or any other nationally televised games that tend to draw big numbers. The fact that the Sabres still have the highest rating in the NHL among American teams despite struggling on the ice is a testament to the NHL's popularity in Buffalo.