The Buffalo Sabres are easily the lowest scoring team in the NHL at this point in the season. It took the Sabres 52 games to finally eclipse 100 goals for the season while the rest of the teams in the league passed the 100-goal mark weeks ago. The Sabres are not just offensively challenged; the Sabres are downright terrible on offense.
Many of the fans in Buffalo felt that if the team could just score three or more goals a game on a regular basis then there would be more wins. After all, Buffalo has Ryan Miller as its goalie and Miller is having a great season despite the pitiful play of the team around him. Surely, three goals a game would be enough to give the Sabres the confidence needed to put some wins up on the board.
On Jan. 14, the Sabres played the Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo scored three goals in that game. Since that game, the Sabres have played seven more games and have scored at least three goals in six of those games. The Sabres even managed to put in four goals last night against the Washington Capitals. With that kind of production, the Sabres’ fans should be expecting win after win. It could be the winning streak that puts Buffalo close enough to getting out of the league’s basement.
In that eight-game stretch, the Sabres have compiled a record of 1-4-3. The Sabres still have five games before a bit of mercy kicks in and the team goes on the Winter Olympic break. The Sabres will need that break to figure out why the team is still losing games despite being able to put the puck in the net.
Is it Ryan Miller’s fault? No, it isn’t. Miller is still standing on his head and doing more than he should to keep the Sabres in games. The simple fact is that this team is just not destined to win hockey games. Rookie Phil Varone scored his first NHL goal in only his fourth NHL game as the Sabres lost to the Capitals Tuesday night, but the team could not rally around the rookie to win the game.
The biggest misconception in Buffalo is that the Sabres are tanking the season to get the first overall pick in the draft. Every player on the Buffalo team knows that, in the NHL, the team with the worst record is not guaranteed the first pick. This is the NHL, not the NFL.
The Sabres just cannot win games, and it is starting to get worse. The fans can expect changes to start happening to their team any day now, and some of the changes will probably sting a little. But a team as bad as the Sabres does not get better overnight, and it is going to be a long, cold winter in Buffalo.