Friday, January 29, 2016

2015-16 Team Stats--January

Reprinted with permission from

If you can say anything about the Buffalo Sabres in their first season focusing on the "build" portion of their rebuild, it's that they're consistent in their inconsistencies. Within their monthly records of 4-7-0 (Oct,) 6-5-2 (November,) and 5-7-2 (December) there were stretches of excellent play and not so good play punctuated by displays of awesomeness which were balanced by the occasional stinker. Through 50 games this season (20-26-4) the Sabres have managed to make huge strides towards the .500 fulcrum as evidenced by their 10 one-goal wins and 10 one-goal losses.

January was very similar to the 2015 portion of the campaign as the team finished 5-7-0. Buffalo started out losing three in a row, then won four of five, then found themselves on a three-game losing streak before winning the final game against Ottawa. It was a maddening display of hockey which had the fanbase caught up in manic mood-swings leaning heavily towards the negative side. However, positive individual efforts during the month, especially near the end with Jack Eichel showcasing his elite talent, kept lit Zippo lighters away from kerosene-soaked torches at the foot of Washington St.

With the way the year has gone so far, it's pretty safe to say that the Sabres won't make the playoffs  for a franchise record-extending fifth consecutive season. As it stands now Buffalo is 12 points out of a playoff spot with 30 games to play. Although a precedent was set last season as the Ottawa Senators, once 12 points out, went on a run that propelled them to a 7th-seed in the Eastern Conference, the Sens were a little further along in their development and rode the Hamburglar's hot hand.  Buffalo is loaded with rookies and have been besieged by injury's to the tune of 207 man-games lost to injury, according to, which is second only to Edmonton's 214. That combination plus utterances from GM Tim Murray that the for sale sign is about to go up pretty much seals their fate for this season.

That and the fact that they haven't been scoring that much either.

Buffalo continues to have trouble putting the puck in the net as they dropped .03 g/pg from the previous month, a stat which solidified their 28th-spot in the league. Their biggest problem in the scoring department all year, and especially last month has been 5-on-5 play. In fact the Sabres went through a nine-day stretch in January between even strength goals. From Evander Kane's goal 7:14 into the second period on the 16th against the Washington Capitals to captain Brian Gionta's goal 16:13 into the first period on January 25th at the NY Rangers, Buffalo went a total of 228:59 without an even-strength goal. Yet they managed to eek out a 2-3 record in those five games on the strength of their special teams.

The Sabres powerplay unit went a combined 4/12 (33%) during that stretch while their penalty kill allowed only one goal in 20 shorthanded opportunities. Special teams won at Arizona 2-1 as Buffalo scored two powerplay goals while the PK shut down the Coyotes on all five of their powerplay opportunities. For the month the PP got back on track raising their percentage by a significant 1.6% which shot them all the way to 6th in the league from 15th. Buffalo's penalty kill went from 25th to 17th as their kill rate went up from 77. 4% to 80.6%.

Other than that, December and January are really months where everything starts to level out and teams settle into their places in the hockey hierarchy. Buffalo's still near the bottom of the division, conference and league but their is some clustering going on especially at the league-level which has six teams within four points of each other.

About the only thing troubling is the goal-differential in which they gave up nine more goals than they scored going from minus-13 to minus-22. There's a reason for that and it's something we'll get into when we look at the individual stats for January.

Buffalo Sabres Team Stats/League Rankings:


--October: 4 (T-23rd)...(MTL, 10)
--November: 10 (T-20th)...(DAL, 19)
--December: 15 (T-24th)...(DAL, WSH, 28)
--January:  20 (T-26)...(WSH, 35)

 --2014-15: 23 (30th)...(ANA, 49)

Atlantic Division Standing

--October: 7th...(MTL)
--November: 7th...(MTL)
--December: 8th...(FLA)
--January:  7th...(FLA)

 --2014-15: 8th...(MTL)

Eastern Conference Standing

--October: 14th...(MTL)
--November: 13th...(MTL)
--December: 15th...(WSH)
--January:  14th...(WSH)

 --2014-15: 16th...(NYR)

League Standing/Points

--October: 24th/8 pts...(MTL/20)
--November: 24th/22...(MTL/39)
--December: 28th/34...(DAL/59)
--January:  27th/44...(WSH/74)

 --2014-15: 30th/54...(NYR/113)

Points Percentage

--October: 36.4% (24th)...(MTL, 88.3)
--November: 45.8 (24th)...(DAL, 79.2)
--December: 44.7 (28th)...(WSH. 78.3)
--January:  44 (28th)...(WSH, 78.7)

 --2014-15 32.9 (30th)...(NYR, 68.9)

Goal Differential

--October: -8 (25th)...(MTL, +22)
--November: -8 (22nd)...(MTL, +32)
--December: -13 (22nd)...(DAL, +39)
--January:  -22 (28th)...(WSH, +54)

 --2014-15 -116 (30th)...(NYR, +60)


--October: 2.27 (22nd)...(BOS, 3.90)
--November: 2.21 (27th)...(DAL, 3.50)
--December: 2.29 (28th)...(DAL, 3.49)
--January:  2.26 (28th)...(WSH, 3.32)

 --2014-15: 1.87 (30th)...(TBL, 3.16)


--October: 33.8 (1st)
--November: 29.5 (18th)...(LAK, 32.1)
--December: 29.7 (15th)...(DAL, 32.4)
--January:  29.3 (T-17th)...(PIT, 32.3)

 --2014-15: 24.2 (30th)...(CHI, 33.9)


--October: 3.09 (24th)...(PIT, 1.82)
--November: 2.54 (13th)...(NYR, 2.08)
--December: 2.58 (14th)...(WSH, 2.11)
--January:  2.66 (19th)...(FLA, 2.18)

 --2014-15: 3.28 (29th)...(MTL, 2.24)

Shots against/Game

--October: 26.9 (5th)...(WSH, 25.1)
--November: 28.4 (5th)...(CAR, 25.3)
--December: 29.4 (16th)...(CAR, 26.2)
--January:  30.6 (21st)...(CAR, 26.5)

 --2014-15: 35.6 (30th)...(LAK, 27.0)


--October: 22.7% (9th)...(BOS, 35.3)
--November: 21.3 (8th)...(BOS, 32.4)
--December: 19.3 (15th)...(BOS, 29.4)
--January:  20.9 (6th)...(WSH, 26.8)

 --2014-15: 13.4 (30th)...(WSH, 25.3)

Penalty Kill

--October: 71.4% (29th)...(NYI, 92.3)
--November: 75.4 (26th)...(ANA, 87.5)
--December: 77.4, (25th)...(ANA, 88.0)
--January:  80.6 (17th)...(ANA, 89.6)

 --2014-15: 75.1 (30th)...(MIN, 86.3)

Faceoff Percentage

--October: 50.4% (14th)...(SJS, 53.7)
--November: 50.1 (17th)...(CAR, 54.0)
--December: 50.5 (13th)...(CAR, 53.2)
--January:  50 (T-17th)...(CAR, 53.9)

 --2014-15: 44.9 (30th)...(BOS, 53.6)

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