Friday, December 2, 2016

Buffalo Sabres 2016-17 Team Stats--November

Published by, 12-1-2016

For many Buffalo Sabres fans the season began on November 29th when Jack Eichel came back from his injury. Unfortunately the season officially began 21 games prior and injuries have put them into a hole heading into December.

It's a good thing that the Eastern Conference is wide open right now. Except for a some powerhouses like the NY Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division plus the Montreal Canadians and surging Tampa Bay Lightning in Buffalo's Atlantic Division, flux is the key word for the rest of the conference. Despite a rough November which featured a 5-6-3 record, the Sabres are only six points out of third place in the division and just four points out of a wild card spot. However, with the three-point game creating league-wide parity, the Sabres need to jump five teams to get to third place in the division and seven teams to make into the second wild card spot.

And so it goes.

It's a minor miracle that Buffalo was able to come out of November as well as they did, considering at one point they were missing their top two centers in Eichel and Ryan O'Reilly, a top-six winger in Evander Kane and two of their top-four defensemen--Zach Bogosian and Dmitry Kulikov. Five Rochester Americans were on recall to hold the fort at one point and they did the best they could.

The Sabres offense took a beating in last month without Eichel and O'Reilly anchoring the top two lines. Head coach Dan Bylsma did some serious juggling and at one point with Kane also on the sidelines had a whole line playing a notch above where they should be. Buffalo's goal scoring dipped below their tank-era futility-mark of 1.87 g/am and hit 1.63 in 13 November games prior to Eichel's return for the last game of the month. Although the five-goal outburst got them back up to 1.95 g/gm on the season, the Sabres are dead last in that department. Take out the powerplay which finished the month at a fifth-best 22.7% clip and it's disastrous.

Defense and goaltending salvaged November for the Sabres as they slightly reduced their goals-against to 2.45 ga/gm (10th) despite averaging two shots-against per game more for the month. The absence of Bogosian and Kulikov, however, took it's toll on the penalty kill as it dropped from an 86.7% kill rate to 78.7% going from seventh to 25th in the league.

For as jumbled as it's been for the team through the first quarter of the season, if the last game vs. the Ottawa Senators is any indication, Eichel's return is huge for the offense as the rest of the lineup falls into place. The Sabres still have issues on the back-end with Bogosian and Kulikov out of the lineup--especially on the penalty kill--but that can be helped by more offense and more speed on the back check.

The Sabres play six of the next seven at home beginning tonight against the offensive juggernaut known as the NY Rangers. The Rangers are averaging a league-best 3.67 goals/game so far this season and have a league-best goal differential of +29. And not only do they bring it with speed and skill, they also have themselves one of the best goaltenders in the league--Henrik Lundqvist.

That, my friends, represents a pretty stiff challenge for the Sabres to begin the month of December.

Buffalo Sabres Team Stats/League Rankings...(Leader):


--October:  3 (T-23rd)...(MTL, 8)
--November:  8 (T-28th)...(MTL, NYR, 16)

--2015-16: 35 (23rd)...(WSH, 56)
--2014-15: 23 (30th)...(ANA, 49)

Atlantic Division Standing

--October:  7th...(MTL)
--November:  8th...(MTL)

--2015-16:  7th...(FLA)
--2014-15:  8th...(MTL)

Eastern Conference Standing

--October:  12th...(MTL)
--November:  15th...(MTL)

--2015-16: 14th...(WSH)
--2014-15: 16th...(NYR)

League standing/Points

--October:  20th/8...(MTL/17)
--November:  28th/21...(MTL/34)

--2015-16:  23rd/81...(WSH/120)
--2014-15: 3 0th/54...(NYR/113)

Points Percentage

--October:  .500 (T-15th)...(MTL, .944)
--November:  .477 (26th)...(MTL, .739)

--2015-16:  .494 (23d)...(WSH, .732)
--2014-15:  .329 (30th)...(NYR, .689)

Goal Differential

--October:  -1 (16th)...(MTL, +17)
--November:  -13 (25th)...(NYR, +29)

--2015-16:  -21 (20th)...(WSH, +59)
--2014-15  -113 (30th)...(NYR, +60)


--October:  2.50 (21st)...(NYR, 3.89)
--November:  1.95 (30th)...(NYR, 3.67)

--2015-16:  2.43 (25th)...(DAL, 3.23)
--2014-15:  1.87 (30th)...(TBL, 3.16)


--October:  27.4 (28th)...(TOR, 34.7)
--November:  29.4 (20th)...(PIT, 33.9)

--2015-16:  29.5 (17th)...(PIT, 33.2)
--2014-15:  24.2 (30th)...(CHI, 33.9)


--October:  2.50 (12th)...(MTL, 1.44)
--November:  2.45 (10th)...(SJS. 2.09)

--2015-16:  2.62, (15th)...(ANA, 2.29)
--2014-15:  3.28 (29th)...(MTL, 2.24)

Shots against/Game

--October:  30.6 (20th)...(WSH, 25)
--November:  32.5 (26th)...(LAK, 25.4)

--2015-16:  30.6 (22nd)...(NSH, 27.3)
--2014-15:  35.6 (30th)...(LAK, 27.0)


--October:  25.0 (7th)...(NSH, 35.7)
--November:  22.7 (5th)...(CBJ, 27.8)

--2015-16:  18.9 (12th)...(ANA, 23.1)
--2014-15:  13.4 (30th)...(WSH, 25.3)

Penalty Kill

--October:  86.7 (7th)...(MIN, 96.2)
--November:  78.7 (25th)...(CAR, 89.7)

--2015-16:  82.6 (9th)...(ANA, 87.2)
--2014-15:  75.1 (30th)...(MIN, 86.3)

Faceoff Percentage

--October:  54.7 (3rd)...(ANA, 59.3)
--November:  51.5 (5th)...(ANA, 56.8) 

--2015-16:  49.4 (21st)...(ARI, 54.7)
--2014-15:  44.9 (30th)...(BOS, 53.6)

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