With their loss to the Minnesota Wild last night, the Buffalo Sabres have reached the halfway point of the 2013-14 NHL season.
At the reset point of the season, it is clear that the Sabres are not as good as many fans hoped they would be.
Buffalo currently sits 30th in the NHL with 26 points (11-26-4 record). The Sabres also have a league-low 6 regulation/overtime victories. For perspective, Calgary/Edmonton have the second-worst ROW with 11.
The Sabres are also scoring a league-low 1.63 goals per game. That statistic is no-contest for Buffalo, as the second-worst goals per game average belongs to Minnesota, who scores 2.23 goals per game.
Figuring out an answer as to why the Sabres can’t score seems quite simple. The team not only lacks multiple pure goal scorers, but the usual suspects are not performing up to career standards.
The Sabres have also found themselves to have been bitten by the injury bug as of late, but they have been relatively lucky all season.
Buffalo currently ranks 15th in the league with 114 man games lost, according to ManGamesLost.com
While there are many negative things that have taken place over the first 41 games of the season, not everything has been bad.
Buffalo’s top three goal scorers, Hodgson/Ennis/Moulson, have been relatively consistent throughout the first half. The aforementioned three have combined for 23 goals and 51 points.
Speaking of forwards, it is clear that the Buffalo Sabres have a developing stud in Zemgus Girgensons. In only his second year of professional hockey, Girgensons has 14 points (4 goals, 10 assists) in 40 games. Girgensons has seen his role expand, evident by his ever-increasing ice time. In October, Girgensons averaged 13:19 TOI. In Game 41, Girgensons played 17:20.
It is clear to many inside and out of the Sabres organization, that while his game might be a little rough around the edges, Buffalo has a great young talent in Zemgus Girgensons.
Speaking of great talent, Ryan Miller is again showing the NHL why he still belongs in the conversation of league’s top goaltenders.
In 29 starts, Miller’s current record is not good, at 10-18-1, but not much of that has been his fault. This is evident by his other statistics. Miller’s goal allowed per game average is at 2.70, lowest since 2011-12. Currently at .926, Miller is also on-pace to be near his career-best in save percentage (.929).
Ryan Miller has currently faced the 2nd-most shots (1,054) and made the 2nd-most saves (976).
While the defense may not be as solid in front of Miller this year, he does not seem to be too phased. In what could be his final year with the Buffalo Sabres, Miller continues to illustrate to the fans and front office that it should still be Miller Time in Buffalo.
There are 41 games remaining in an already tough season for the Buffalo Sabres. There will certainly be more questions raised throughout the second half of the season, as the Sabres continue in a direction of rebuild.