Thursday, November 2, 2017

Buffalo Sabres 2017-18 Team Stats--October

Published by, 11-1-2017

The month of October was a pretty rough month for the Buffalo Sabres as their 3-7-2 record would indicate. For a bit of perspective, the Sabres also had three wins in October last season without Jack Eichel and Evander Kane, amongst others, but they only played eight games because the World Cup set the season back. After 12 games last season, the Sabres were 4-5-3 which is slightly better.

Buffalo went into this season with a new head coach, Phil Housley, a revamped defense corps and a new style. All of that got them in to serious trouble early as they stumbled out of the gate to a 0-4-1. After losing in the shootout to the Montreal Canadiens, the Sabres forgot how to play defense and got shellacked in consecutive games while allowing six goals against in each. It would seem that the players, in their rush to find offense, forgot how to play defense and in the ensuing nine games Housley has been stressing more work without the puck and more attention to the defensive zone.

It's worked, to an extent, as the Sabres have generally played some pretty good hockey except for a couple of clunkers--a home loss to Vancouver and a loss at Columbus.

As we look at the stats, the Sabres are in the lower half of the league in every category except the penalty kill which ranks 11th at an 82.5% kill rate. That's about it for the bright spots.

The Sabres have been suffering on defense (3.58 goals-against, 27th in the league) and on offense (2.42 goals/game, 29th) leading to a -15 goal differential which ranks 30th out of 31 teams. Buffalo is getting their shots, but is having trouble finishing as they sit 28th in the league with a 7.67 shooting percentage a number that's below last season's moribund 7.99 shooting percentage. The powerplay, which was No. 1 last season (24.5%) could really help but those two units have stumbled although the PP is climbing towards respectability, a 14.3% conversion rate is 23rd-best in the league.

Much of the thought process involved in trying to turn this ship around has the Sabres beginning their transition game with solid defense, which has been happening more frequently as of late. Housley stressed that point by mentioning the surprising 5-2 Buffalo Bills NFL football team. “What is the one thing they’re talking about the Buffalo Bills?” said yesterday to the gathered media. “It’s their defense. That’s what’s changing things for them, it’s creating turnovers. … We have to take pride in that area.”

The Sabres will get some help in the defensive area as Justin Falk is expected to make his first start of the season tomoorow night in Arizona. The defensive-defenseman with good puck-moving ability has been sidelined all season with a lower body injury.

Housley mentioned yesterday that he believes his Sabres have produced more scoring chances 80% of the time this season and that they  "have a lot of talent in that room to win hockey games.” But it all comes back to defense. “It’s our play without the puck that has to get better," he continued, "we have to take pride in our defense. We have to take pride in the fact if it’s 1-0 or 1-1 or 2-2 that we can play in those games. Right now, we’re the ones cracking.”

He did point out that the Sabres are 3-3-1 since their horrendous start. Which is a good thing. But they've got to be better than the stats below.

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


--October:  3, (T-29th)...(STL, TBL, 10)

--2016-17: 33 (25th)...(WSH, 55)
--2015-16: 35 (23rd)...(WSH, 56)
--2014-15: 23 (30th)...(ANA, 49)

Atlantic Division Standing

--October:  8th...(TBL)

--2016-17: 8th...(MTL)
--2015-16: 7th...(FLA)
--2014-15: 8th...(MTL)

Eastern Conference Standing

--October:  16th...(TBL)

--2016-17: 15th...(WSH)
--2015-16: 14th...(WSH)
--2014-15: 16th...(NYR)

League standing/Points

--October:  29th/8...(TBL/21)

--2016-17: 26th/78...(WSH/118)
--2015-16: 23rd/81...(WSH/120)
--2014-15: 30th/54...(NYR/113)

Points Percentage

--October:  .333 (30th)...(STL, TBL/.808)

--2016-17: .476 (26th)...(WSH, .720)
--2015-16: .494 (23rd)...(WSH, .732)
--2014-15: .329 (30th)...(NYR, .689)

Goal Differential

--October:  -15 (30th)...(TBL, +17)

--2016-17: -36 (24th)...(WSH, +81)
--2015-16: -21 (20th)...(WSH, +59)
--2014-15 -113 (30th)...(NYR, +60)


--October:  2.42 (29th)...(TBL, 4.08)

--2016-17: 2.43 (24th)...(PIT, 3.39)
--2015-16: 2.43 (25th)...(DAL, 3.23)
--2014-15: 1.87 (30th)...(TBL, 3.16)


--October:  31.5 (17th)...(MTL, 38)

--2016-17: 30.4 (15th)...(PIT, 33.5)
--2015-16: 29.5 (17th)...(PIT, 33.2)
--2014-15: 24.2 (30th)...(CHI, 33.9)

 Shooting Percentage

--October:  7.67 (28th)...(TBL, 12.96)

--2016-17:  7.99 (25th)...(WSH, 10.46)

5v5 Goals/Game Percentage

--October:  62.07 (19th)...(CLB, 77.78)

--2016-17:  63.32 (27th)...(NYI, 74.48)


--October:  14.3 (23rd)...(DAL, 30.8)

--2016-17: 24.5 (1st)
--2015-16: 18.9 (12th)...(ANA, 23.1)
--2014-15: 13.4 (30th)...(WSH, 25.3)


--October:  3.58 (27th)...(LAK, 2.00)

--2016-17: 2.82 (19th)...(WSH, 2.16)
--2015-16: 2.62 (15th)...(ANA, 2.29)
--2014-15: 3.28 (29th)...(MTL, 2.24)

Shots against/Game

--October:  32.5 (19th)...(SJS, 28.7)

--2016-17: 34.3 (30th)...(LAK, 25.9)
--2015-16: 30.6 (22nd)...(NSH, 27.3)
--2014-15: 35.6 (30th)...(LAK, 27.0)

Penalty Kill

--October:  82.5, (11th)...(LAK, 93.0)

--2016-17: 77.6 (25th)...(BOS, 85.7)
--2015-16: 82.6 (9th)...(ANA, 87.2)
--2014-15: 75.1 (30th)...(MIN, 86.3)

Faceoff Percentage

--October:  50.4 (18th)...(53.9, OTT)

--2016-17: 49.6 (17th)...(ANA, 54.7)
--2015-16: 49.4 (21st)...(ARI, 54.7)
--2014-15: 44.9 (30th)...(BOS, 53.6)

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