One Goal Games
I feel like this has been your entire season. You dominate all game and then find a way to lose in the end.
That was what some random Islanders fan sitting behind me at the game last night said to his Sabres fan friend, as the Islanders scored their first goal in the third period to make it a one goal game. I'm not sure how much I can take his opinion seriously, though. He did spend some time musing on the fact that hockey has no real home field advantage since there is no such thing as a goal line stand. He also legitimately spent some time trying to figure out who "#91" was, so yeah, not sure how dedicated this particular Islanders fan actually was.
But either way, his quote stuck with me enough to make me want to pull out the ole pad and paper and see for myself. Just how effective have we been in close games? Do we fold when the going gets tough? Surprisingly, that's actually not the case. In one goal games this year, the Sabres are 14-7-7. You might think overtime skews that statistic a bit, but they're at least an even 7-7 in games going to overtime or a shootout. They've come away with two points in 50% of contests that were decided by a goal or less. Granted, the record doesn't jump out at you like an overly impressive feat, but I did expect it to be a losing one.
On the flip side, the Sabres are 12-20 in games decided by two or more goals. Andy mentioned the lack of firepower as a problem with the Sabres attempts at staging a miracle playoff run earlier today. Couple that with the injuries to our top defensemen we've suffered this year and you pretty much get the story of the season. If we can keep it close, our chances of winning are as good as anyone's. But if we get down big, there's really no way for us to claw back. If you're still holding on to a shred of hope that the Sabres have a miracle run left in them, perhaps you can point to a healthy defense's ability to keep games within a goal's reach as our best shot.