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Crunching Numbers: Sabres Start Slow, Suffer First Regulation Loss

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Contrary to the belief of many Sabres fans, Saturday was not the worst game the Sabres have played this season.  That was in fact the 6-3 victory versus the New York Islanders

There were players that struggled, Derek Roy and Tim Connolly to name a few but this game was decided by goaltending.  Johan Hedberg, who you remember from the 2001 playoffs against the Penguins, made the big saves and Patrick Lalime did not.

It's difficult to blame a goalie when the team comes out flat but the Sabres were the better team over the final 40 minutes.  Buffalo outshot Atlanta 42 -27, including 20-4 in the third period. The Sabres were never able to get back in the game because Atlanta answered both Sabres goals.

Clarke MacArthur scored the Sabres first goal and made the score 2-1 but less than a minute later the Thrashers scored to regain their two goal lead.  Drew Stafford scored a power play goal to make the score 3-2 with 3:34 left in the third period.  It took Max Afinogenov only 17 seconds to give Atlanta back their two goal lead.  I don't want to take away from the accomplishments of Afinogenov but Ryan Miller makes that save, Miller makes many of those saves.  Sometimes you need your goalie to be better than the guy at the other end and that didn't happen for the Sabres on Saturday night.

Follow the jump to see the stats.

Statistically speaking, the Sabres look like the better team.  They outshot the Thrashers by almost a two to one margin but the stats don't tell the story.  The stats don't show you the Thrashers took an early two goal lead and never let the Sabres back in it.

Game Stats
Game Stats
# Player Pos TOI +/- FO% Hits GV TK BS
4 Steve Montador D 20:27 0 - 2 0 0 0
5 Toni Lydman D 19:30 0 - 1 1 0 0
9 Derek Roy C 17:35 -1 41% 0 2 1 1
10 Henrik Tallinder D 15:40 -1 - 0 0 0 0
13 Tim Kennedy C 9:39 0 50% 0 1 0 1
19 Tim Connolly C 19:46 0 62% 2 3 0 0
20 Daniel Paille LW 8:45 0 - 1 0 0 0
21 Drew Stafford RW 15:31 0 2 0 0 0
22 Adam Mair C 9:13 0 40% 3 0 0 0
25 Mike Grier RW 15:07 -1 0% 4 0 0 0
28 Paul Gaustad C 15:42 0 69% 3 1 1 0
29 Jason Pominville RW 21:05 0 0% 0 1 0 0
34 Chris Butler D 21:43 0 - 1 0 0 3
36 Patrick Kaleta RW 8:39 0 4 0 0 0
41 Clarke MacArthur LW 17:34 0 0% 1 1 0 0
52 Craig Rivet D 20:21 0 - 2 1 0 1
55 Jochen Hecht LW 19:08 -1 33% 0 1 0 0
57 Tyler Myers D 17:04 -1 - 1 2 0 0
TOI = Total Time on Ice GV = Giveaways
FO% = Faceoff percentage TK = Takeaways
Hits = Total Hits BS=Blocked Shots

 

Even Strength Stats

 

Even Strength Individual Stats Even Strength On-Ice Totals
# Player Pos EV TOI G A Shots S A/B S Miss SOGF SOGA SOG Diff Tot SF Tot SA Corsi
4 Steve Montador D 13:30 0 0 1 1 0 14 10 4 22 12 10
5 Toni Lydman D 17:57 0 0 3 1 0 14 10 4 22 12 10
9 Derek Roy C 13:00 0 0 3 0 0 13 8 5 18 10 8
10 Henrik Tallinder D 13:54 0 0 0 1 0 6 6 0 10 9 1
13 Tim Kennedy C 9:10 0 0 2 0 1 10 4 6 16 5 11
19 Tim Connolly C 14:17 0 1 3 0 0 7 10 -3 11 14 -3
20 Daniel Paille LW 8:45 0 0 1 0 0 5 0 5 8 3 5
21 Drew Stafford RW 15:31 0 0 3 1 1 10 8 2 12 9 3
22 Adam Mair C 9:13 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 1 6 4 2
25 Mike Grier RW 15:07 0 0 3 0 1 12 4 8 17 6 11
28 Paul Gaustad C 15:42 0 0 5 2 0 14 3 11 18 5 13
29 Jason Pominville RW 21:05 0 1 2 3 1 8 10 -2 13 14 -1
34 Chris Butler D 21:43 0 0 1 0 0 13 7 6 18 12 6
36 Patrick Kaleta RW 8:39 0 0 1 0 1 2 2 0 7 4 3
41 Clarke MacArthur LW 17:34 1 0 1 0 0 8 9 -1 13 12 1
52 Craig Rivet D 20:21 0 0 2 1 0 13 7 6 18 13 5
55 Jochen Hecht LW 19:08 0 0 2 0 0 9 10 -1 11 12 -1
57 Tyler Myers D 17:04 0 0 0 2 0 6 6 0 10 8 2
EV TOI = Even Strength time on ice SOGA = Team shots against while on ice
EV TOI = Even Strength time on ice SOG Diff = Difference shots on ice
S A/B = shots attempted and blocked Tot SF = Total shots including blocked/missed
S Miss = Shots missed the net Tot SA = Total Shots Ag. Including blocked/missed
SOGF = Team Shots while on ice Corsi = Difference in Total Shots

 

The Corsi number is a statistic that what created by Sabres goalie coach JIm Corsi.  It is the difference in total shots for and the total shots against.  It factors in all shots that were on net, attempts that were blocked and shots that missed the net.  The idea is that it is a better reflection on a players two-way play because it shows puck possesion as opposed to only shots on goal.