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What has happened this season for the Sabres and what's left for the 2018-19 season

Howard Simon
January 28, 2019 - 11:21 am

Photo: NHL.com

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I hope you enjoyed your break from Buffalo Sabres hockey. The way things had been going the last quarter of the season, I think we all needed it.

The season resumes on Tuesday night in Columbus and I've put together some information to help you get back into the swing of things.

The biggest question with the Sabres is whether or not they can turn the season back around and end the seven-year playoff drought. If you go back to the final game in the 10-game win streak, to that point of the season, the Sabres had gained 72-percent of the available points. In the 23 games since the win streak ended, Buffalo has picked up just 39-percent of the points. Needless to say that has significantly cut into any playoff optimism among the Sabres faithful.

Right now, the second wild card team in the Eastern Conference is on pace for 98 points. The Sabres are on pace for 92 points.

It would behoove the boys in blue and gold to put together some kind of win streak, but the Sabres haven't won more than two in a row since the 10-game run ended. In fact, they've only won back-to-back games on one occasion, defeating the Los Angeles Kings on December 11 and the Arizona Coyotes two days later.

The Sabres have 34 games left in the regular season, 18 of which will be played at KeyBank Center, including a critical seven-game homestand from February 1 through the 15th.  The Sabres are 14-6-3 on home ice, while they are just 10-12-3 on the road. In the last 12 games away from home, the Sabres are an unsightly 2-8-2 and have given up 42 goals.

Of those 34 games, there's an even split of matchups against teams currently in a playoff spot and opponents who are on the outside looking in. There are 22 different teams left on the schedule, and the Sabres' record against those teams this season is 13-13-4.

The Sabres' biggest problem of late has been a leaky defense, and blame can be spread all around from the goalies to the defensemen to the forwards. Contributing factors include giveaways, lapses in defensive zone coverage and a lack of communication. The Sabres have given up three or more goals in each of their last five games (23 goals against) and nine of the last 11 (39 goals allowed). 

A number of players need to produce to help the cause:

  • Carter Hutton's save percentage is just .898 over his last 12 starts.
  • Conor Sheary has no goals in his last 10 games. His only goal in the last 28 games was an empty netter.
  • Vladimir Sobotka has five assists in his last eight games, but hasn't scored a goal in the last 32 games.
  • Jason Pominville has one goal in the last 23 games
  • Zemgus Girgensons has two goals...for the season
  • The power play has produced a goal in just four of the last 15 games (4-of-39)
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