With Hasek, Biron, and Miller, the Sabres have leaned on their goalies as the foundation of the team for almost two decades. Thus I and many Sabres fans have been alarmed at the amount of goals scored on the Sabres this year. Since the first Carolina game, Buffalo has allowed 38 goals in 9 games, allowing 3 or more goals in each contest. Many of these games could have been a lot worse if it wasn't for some great bailout saves by Miller. This feels like the worst stretch of defensive hockey for the Sabres in a long time but is it?
To find out, I went back to 1997-98. Over the last 15 seasons. the Sabres have had 38 streaks where they allowed 3 or more goals in 4 or more consecutive games.
I analyzed the data and looked at length of streak, goals per game, goals against per game, goal differential per game and points per game. The result, this current streak comprised of 9 straight games allowing 3 or more goals, while scoring 3.11 goals per game and allowing 4.22 goals per game for a -1.11 goal differential and earning .56 points per game is not the worst, it is not even top 10, it's the 13th from the bottom. The current team can thank Thomas Vanek for this, if it wasn't for his game tying goal and the subsequent win, the current streak would be the 6th worst in the last 15 years.
So what was the worst streak? You don't have to think too far back, because it occurred last year.
January 14, 2012: 4-2 loss at the Islanders
January 16, 2012: 5-0 loss at the Red Wings
January 18, 2012: 6-2 loss at the Blackhawks
January 19, 2012: 4-1 loss at Winnipeg
January 21, 2012: 4-2 loss at St. Louis
During the prelude to the drive for 9th last year, Buffalo doomed their season with an awful Midwest road swing scoring 1.4 goals per game while allowing 4.6 goals per game and earning 0 of 10 possible points.
The best stretch occurred in 2010-11
March 8, 2011: 3-1 loss at Pittsburgh
March 10, 2011: 4-3 win at Boston
March 12, 2011: 3-4 loss at Toronto
March 13, 2011: 6-4 win vs Ottawa
Despite giving up 3.5 goals per game, the Sabres scored 3.5 per game and earned a point per game.
The Longest Stretch, 11 games, occurred in 2008-09:
March 14, 2009: 4-3 OT loss vs Atlanta
March 17, 2009: 4-2 loss at Ottawa
March 20, 2009: 6-4 loss vs Philly
March 21, 2009: 5-3 loss at NY Rangers
March 25, 2009: 5-3 win vs Florida
March 27, 2009: 5-3 win vs Toronto
March 28, 2009: 4-3 win at Montreal
April 1, 2009: 3-2 OT loss at Atlanta
April 3, 2009: 5-4 win at Washington
April 4, 2009: 3-2 loss vs New Jersey
April 6, 2009: 4-1 loss vs Detroit
My favorite stretches came during the high flying 06-07 President's Cup year. That year there were 5 streaks of 3+ goals allowed encompassing 30 games.
One of those streaks lasted 8 games at the beginning of the season:
October 28, 2006: 5-4 OT loss vs Atlanta
November 2, 2006: 5-4 win at Boston
November 4, 2006: 4-1 loss vs Toronto
November 5, 2006: 4-3 win at NY Rangers
November 10, 2006: 5-4 win vs Florida
November 11, 2006: 5-4 win at Philadelphia
November 13, 2006: 7-4 win at Carolina
November 15, 2006: 4-2 loss vs Ottawa
In that 8 game span, Buffalo allowed 4 goals a game but scored 4.13 goals a game. They also captured 11 of 16 points despite the high amount of goals scored. We allowed a lot of goals, but we scored more. Those were the days.
BEST GOALIE UNDER FIRE:
Starting with the 2002-03 season, these streaks encompassed 185 games, 113 started by Miller.
Miller 113 games, 443 goals, .71 points per game.
Biron started 32 games, 118 goals, .69 points per game
Lalime started 14 games, 57 goals, .36 points per game
Noronen started 11 games, 58 goals, 0 points
Enroth started 10 games, 48 goals .4 points per game.
This is a toss up between Biron and Miller, I think I give the nod to Biron. Biron has a slight edge in goals per game, and he played on some bad teams. Miller played a lot of these games with the Drury/Briere Sabres, which boosts his points per game numbers.
WHEN DO WE SLUMP?
By month, the Sabres have had bad defensive slumps in February and March. They were least likely to occur in November. The cause of this seems to be both injuries to defensemen and Miller, as well as the annual West Coast swing that happens around that time.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME:
During these bad defense streaks, it's better to be at home.
At home we score half a goal more per game, allow a third of the goals and earn almost twice as many points.
If you find yourself in a streak of bad defense...
Florida: 6 games against during streaks, 3.8 goals scored/game, 3.3 goals allowed/game, 1.33 points/game
Boston: 16 games against during streaks, 3.31 goals scored/game, 3.88 goals allowed/game, 0.94 points/game
Atlanta/Winnipeg: 14 games against during streaks, 2.93 goals scored/game, 4.21 goals allowed/game, 0.71 points/game
Toronto: 17 games against during streaks, 2.76 goals scored/game, 4.12 goals allowed/game, 0.65 points/game
Ottawa: 24 games against during streaks, 2.71 goals scored/game, 4.21 goals allowed/game, 0.58 points/game
DO NOT PLAY:
Pittsburgh: 10 games against during streaks, 2.9 goals scored/game, 5 goals allowed/game, 0.4 points/game
Washington: 11 games against during streaks, 2.55 goals scored/game, 3.45 goals allowed/game, 0.36 points/game
New Jersey: 11 games against during streaks, 2.09 goals scored/game, 3.91 goals allowed/game, 0.27 points/game
and don't even make the trip to Motown...
Detroit: 6 games against during streaks, 1.5 goals scored/game, 4.5 goals allowed/game, 0.17 points/game
Can the Sabres break the streak against the high powered Islanders and Bruins, or will they tie the longest streak in 15 years with 11 games of 3 or more goals allowed?