The Sabres need some offense from the defense.

November 10, 2016 - 8:50 am
The Sabres are 28th in league scoring with just two goals per game. They’re tied with Colorado while Vancouver is dead last. With injuries at different times to Jack Eichel, Evander Kane, Ryan O’Reilly, Kyle Okposo and Tyler Ennis, it’s really not surprising.
What may be surprising is the Sabres have been getting about 15 percent more scoring chances than last season. Dan Bylsma said, “I would say our chances generated is higher that it was last year, we’re generating quite a few scoring chances, but we need to generate more scoring chances to score the way we need to score.”
The defensemen don't have any goals yet this season. The seven of them have only produced 14 assists. Bylsma said, “I’m not necessarily concerned that they don’t have a goal, but I think one area that we need to get better at is providing offense from our defensemen.”
In Wednesday’s Ottawa game, Jake McCabe was up and involved all night while Rasmus Ristolainen was active at times too. Bylsma said, “That entails using our defensemen and getting them involved more in our 5-on-5 game offensively. If we had one or two or three goals from them right now, that would still be the case.”
McCabe isn’t a big scorer from the blue line, but he is capable. In 99 NHL games he has four goals and 14 assists for 18 points. McCabe said, “That’s part of my game, that’s what my teammates and coaches expect of me to be able to provide offense with my skating ability and with my passing, so like I said in Boston, we need to get more offense from secondary defensemen.”
Even though Cody Franson has limitations when it comes to speed, he’s been getting up into the play a few times and it’s produced some two-on-ones. Franson thinks the D needs to be more active and he’s trying to do so, “I think with the injuries that we have, it’s important for us to help out even more so than we usually do, while still protecting our defense.”
“We’re trying to get shots through to the net and create those ugly goals, but if we can help execution out of the zone and create some odd man rushes, then we definitely should be doing that.”
I also wanted get a forwards point of view on this. Brian Gionta thinks it would really help to get those guys on the backend more involved, “For sure it helps, it backs their guys up so you’re able to make a play or two coming into the zone or they become an option as a late guy coming into the zone.”
Both the Sabres and Devils are going to split their goalies for this series. Friday will be Anders Nilsson against Keith Kincad while Saturday features Robin Lehner against Cory Schneider.
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