It is not a secret that the Sabres have been struggling as of late, losers of their last five games. It is a far cry from the team that began the season with a 6-0-1 record. Lindy Ruff stated last week that the team wasn't as good as they played early in the season and that they aren't as bad as they have played lately. I didn't realize until I broke down the numbers just how bad they have been.
|First Seven Games(6-0-1)||Last Seven Games (1-6-0||Entire Season|
|Goals For||24 (3.34/game)||14 (2.00/game)||54 (2.70/game)|
|Goals Against||12 (1.71/game)||31 (4.43/game)||59 (2.95/game)|
|Power Play||9-39 (23.0%)||3-27 (11.1%)||19-99 (19.2%)|
|Penalty Kill||31-37 (93.9%)||20-27 (74.0%)||72-85 (84.7%)|
|Shots For||203 (29/game)||231 (33/game)||(30.6/game)|
|Shots Against||199 (28.43/game)||201 (28.71/game)||(28.6/game)|
In this current slump they are averaging a goal and a half less per game and allowing almost two and half goals more a game. There aren't many teams in this league that can allow over four goals a game and win.
Every hockey fan knows (and I've stated on this site numerous times) that special teams win hockey games. The Sabres have proved that to be the case this season. In their first seven games they scored nine power play goals and they have only scored three in their last seven games. The penalty kill numbers are similar. They have allowed seven goals in the last seven and only three in the first seven of the season when they were winning.
The funny thing about their slump is the teams they have played. In the first seven games they beat both the Boston Bruins and the NY Islanders but they lost to both during their slump. They also beat teams like the Wild, Rangers and Canadiens when things were going well but have lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets during their slump.
I don't know the answers to the Sabres woes but I know that good special teams and better defense/goaltending will go a long way.