On December 1, the Buffalo Sabres sat in the basement of the National Hockey League with a league-low 6 wins, coupled with 20 losses and 4 overtime losses. Thirty days later, things would look a little more rosy for the franchise.
The month of December saw the evolution of rookie Zemgus Girgensons. Before December, Girgensons had tallied 7 points (1 goal, 6 assists) in 27 games. In 12 December games, Girgensons amassed 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists). Increased development meant increased ice-time for Girgensons as well, as he averaged 16:07 per game in the month.
Another big story line from December was the play of goaltender Ryan Miller. The month of December might just be the best we’ve ever seen Miller. In eight starts, Miller recorded a .948 save percentage. That happens to be the best save percentage that Miller has recorded, when making more than 4 starts in a month. Miller also put up a 1.82 goals allowed average, or 15 goals allowed on 291 shots. That stat is the lowest Miller has recorded since November 2009, when he recorded a 1.81 GAA.
The month of December saw Buffalo compile 21 goals, while allowing 28 goals. The team’s overall goal differential of -42 remains the worst in the league.
Buffalo accumulated a 5-5-2 December record, gaining 12 of a possible 24 points. Although Buffalo gained half of the month’s possible points, they remained in last place in the Eastern Conference throughout the month of December.