Thursday, February 2, 2017

Buffalo Sabres 2016-17 Team Stats--January

Published by, 2-1-2017

It's gotten to the point in the season where stats are beginning to level off and are beginning to reveal just what teams are made of. That's not to say a long streak one way or another won't change things, as invariably one team or another goes hot or cold, but generally speaking teams that are at the top will stay there and the teams at the bottom are entrenched where they are there while parity gives us a huge block of teams in limbo.

With one month of hockey to go until the NHL Trade Deadline and there and only five points separates 13 teams between the 16th place Los Angeles Kings and 28th place Detroit Red Wings and the Buffalo Sabres are right there at the bottom of that clump in 27th.

Buffalo just finished the month of January with a 7-5-1 record, their best month this season, and it was looking even better until they dropped both games surrounding the All-Star break. Prior to the break they'd been living on the edge by winning three comeback wins in a row in overtime but they fell to Dallas before the break and last night they came back to a 5-2 thumping compliments of the Montreal Canadiens.

It was a good month for offense as the Sabres scored more, which is a good thing. During the month of January they averaged 3.23 goals/game which moved the needle considerably (for this point in the season) as they went from an average of 2.14 g/gm to 2.43. They scored four or more goals five times, going 5-0-0 in the process, and never scored under two goals in a game. The problem, as revealed in their goal differential, is that they gave up more goals-against.

Despite their increased offensive production the Sabres shaved off only two points in the differential department going from a -23 to a -21 and neither number is acceptable. Defensive breakdowns and goaltending gaffes lead to a marked increase in shots-against and a rise in their team goals-against average. The Sabres gave up four or more goals six times in the month finishing 1-4-1 in those games.

Last year at this time the Sabres were at 2.26 g/gm, allowed 2.62 ga/gm, had a goal differential of -22 and entered the month of February with a 20-26-4 record good for 46 points. They finished the season with 81 points on a 35-36-11 record averaging 2.43 g/gm (25th) while giving up an average of 2.62 (15th.) They're scoring at the same rate now that they finished with last year while giving up significantly more goals against this season.

Regardless of whether your inclined to believe in injuries as an excuse, in the very least they've had a significant impact on the Sabres. The correlation between Jack Eichel's return and the overall heling of the forward group is undeniable as their return moved the team from a league-worst 1.95 g/gm through November 2.43 (24th) through January which is the exact same number they finished with last season. Conversely, on the defensive side injuries have hit their goals-against hard.

Last season Buffalo's defense was healthy to the point where only one defenseman, Chad Ruhwedel, was called up from Rochester and he appeared in only one game. This season the Sabres have used no less than four AHL-designated players who've played in a total of 65 games, with two of them anchoring the third-pairing for the entire month of January. Buffalo also recalled defenseman Brendan Guhle from his Canadian Junior club on an emergency basis for three games. A correlation could be made between the 2.62 GAA the team had last season with a healthy defense-corps and the 2.78 GAA they have right now with a depleted one.

Buffalo's powerplay continues to be one of the best in the league as it jumped from ninth to fifth in the league on an increase of 1.1 basis points while the PK finally got out of the basement, barely, by increasing their kill rate ever so slightly to 74.3%.

The Sabres are still a maddening club to watch in that they've shown the ability to skate with, and beat, some of the best teams in the league yet there are way too many clunkers in the mix at this point. In looking at the raw stats, they're trending upward save for the defensive side.

One thing that seems to be pretty clear is that the Sabres don't have the proper depth and haven't gotten consistent contributions from stars and complimentary players alike to go on any long run so far. They've managed to keep their winless streaks low, but haven't been able to go on a run longer than four games and if they ever hope to be able to move up the standings, they'll need to be better at both.

Right now they are what their record says they are, a middling team struggling to climb up the standings.

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


--October:  3 (T-23rd)...(MTL, 8)
--November:  8 (T-28th)...(MTL, NYR, 16)
--December:  13 (28th)...(CBJ, 26)
--January:  20 (T-27th)...(WSH, 33)

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

Atlantic Division Standing

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

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

Eastern Conference Standing

--October:  12th...(MTL)
--November:  15th...(MTL)
--December:  16th...(CBJ)
--January:  15th...(WSH)

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

League standing/Points

--October:  20th/8...(MTL/17)
--November:  28th/21...(MTL/34)
--December:  28th/34...(CBJ/56)
--January:  27th/49...(WSH/72)

--2015-16:  23rd/81...(WSH/120)
--2014-15:  30th/54...(NYR/113)

Points Percentage

--October:  .500 (T-15th)...(MTL, .944)
--November:  .477 (26th)...(MTL, .739)
--December:  .472 (28th)...(CBJ, .800)
--January:  .500 (24th)...(MIN, .724)

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

Goal Differential

--October:  -1 (16th)...(MTL, +17)
--November:  -13 (25th)...(NYR, +29)
--December:  -23 (27th)...(CBJ, +50)
--January:  -21 (26th)...(MIN), +54

--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)
--December:  2.14 (28th)...(CBJ, 3.46)
--January:  2.43 (24th)...(PIT, 3.55)

--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)
--December:  29.5 (17th)...(PIT, 34.8)
--January:  29.8 (17th)...(PIT, 34.4)

--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)
--December:  2.67 (14th)...(MIN, 2.06)
--January:  2.78 (17th)...(WSH, 2.10)

--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)
--December:  32.6 (27th)...(LAK, 25.9)
--January:  33.3 (29th)...(LAK, 25.9)

--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)
--December:  21.6 (9th)...(CBJ, 27.4)
--January:  22.7 (5th)...(CBJ, 24.6)

--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)
--December:  73.9 (30th)...(CAR, 88.8)
--January:  74.3 (29th)...(CAR, 87.8)

--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)
--December:  51.1 (9th)...(ANA, 56.0)
--January:  50.6 (11th)...(ANA, 55.1)

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

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