With a total of 5 matches into the 2019/19 NHL season, the Buffalo Sabres seem very different. After almost a decade of struggling to get depth and talent without breaking the bank, the Buffalo Sabres are finally starting to look like a solid team. What gives ice hockey fans the most hope is that the Buffalo Sabres squad looks good and there’s still loads of development down the line.
It’s a Great Time to Be A Sabres Fan
The hot-and-cold start from the Buffalo Sabres this season cannot be compared to the previous sub zero seasons the team had to tolerate. Even when the Buffalo Sabres played at their very best, it was still individual efforts as opposed to team victories. However, this season it certainly feels like the Buffalo Sabres are a solid team when they hit the ice. Scoring is undoubtedly more diverse and the minutes are more evenly divided.
The last time the Buffalo Sabres celebrated two matches over .500, Buffalonians had iPhone 4’s in their back pockets, and no one knew what a Big Ditch beer was. What’s even more impressive is that it could happen again this coming Tuesday. The increase in scoring from the Buffalo Sabres is a massive part of the team’s success. With a total of 11 goals in the last 5 matches, the team is scoring 2.2 goals per match at the moment. This includes a one-goal game and a shutout. Even strength scoring may have decreased for the Buffalo Sabres, but the team is boasting with a 22.2% success rate when it comes to power play which is up by 3% from the previous season.
Special teams have been fantastic for Buffalo Sabre victories, and not so good when it comes to Buffalo Sabre losses. The Buffalo Sabres have managed to miss the mark while playing against the Colorado Avalanche where they dropped a 6-1 decision which also saw the power play go 4-for-0. Thankfully, the Buffalo Sabres have one power play in the last three wins, where the overall is 4-for-7.
Jason Botterill’s Efforts Are Paying Off
The increase in success when it comes to power play is certainly expected. Jason Botterill, the general manager for the Buffalo Sabres, worked extremely hard to improve the scoring acumen for the Buffalo Sabres during the offseason. It also helps that players are starting to live up to their expectations, especially when you look at Kyle Okposo.
What’s even more surprising is the fact that the team is playing extremely well when it comes to the penalty kill. Obviously, the acquisition of Carter Hutton, as goalkeeper, has helped tremendously as well. The penalty kill save percentage from Hutton has been fantastic in the last few games, especially when you look at it from a defensive standpoint. Marcus Scandella and Rasmus Ristolainen continue to lead the Buffalo Sabres when it comes to minutes and plays the majority of the shorthanded time. These changes might be small, but they are certainly helping the Sabres in the 2018/19 NHL season.