Sabres seek November turnaround

Jack Eichel breaking his stick and yelling an obscenity after Saturday’s loss to San Jose is all we need to relive Buffalo’s opening month of the regular season.

It wasn’t pretty, but we’re not going to delve into what went wrong in October. Instead, we’re turning the page and seeing if this team can improve in a new month.

The Sabres may not be considered a good team, but they still may be better than their record shows. Phil Housley needs to prove that his system is working, but the only way that can happen is if there are signs of life. He’s made it clear that players have to avoid frustration, and instead, learn from the mistakes.

“I think we got frustrated, I did for sure, that we weren’t scoring goals,” O’Reilly said after Wednesday’s loss to Columbus. “We had some opportunities that didn’t go in and forced us to deviate and try different things. They just rolled wave after wave at us. We tightened up. We started to get tense and you could just see guys were getting back in that mindset where we don’t want the puck and it’s tough. We were playing uphill then.”

The Sabres played one of their better games on Saturday, but a late goal gave San Jose the lead, and an eventual win.

Still, it was a sign of progress, and the Sabres need to build off it and get rolling. This month, they’ll play 13 games, including a four-game homestand in the latter half.

Brian Duff asked Martin Biron if he thinks the Sabres could go something like 7-3-2 in the month of November, and the former goaltender was quick to assure the analyst.

It all starts on Thursday against Arizona, a team that picked up its first win of the season on Monday. The Sabres have been off since Saturday afternoon, while the Coyotes have played three games since then.

Flashback to last season, when the Sabres came off their bye week and dropped the next two games to Colorado and Arizona.

Eichel stated that the team needs to go on a run and start stringing wins together. He’s shown his displeasure repeatedly, but the problem isn’t with him or the top line.

As we head into November, there are players who have underachieved, or not even shown up. This team cannot rely on their top line on a nightly basis. Secondary scoring and an improved defensive unit are the keys for this team to find the win column more frequently.

Due to their early struggles, November is a crucial month for Buffalo. A strong few weeks can put them right back in the middle of the standings, but another rough month will have fans more focused on Rasmus Dahlin and the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

Kevin Freiheit
Kevin Freiheit
I founded Buffalo Hockey Central in 2008 and have poured hours and hours into this site. Luckily, we have a great team of writers and designers who have helped keep this up and running despite a ton of out-of-pocket costs. We do this because we enjoy it, and we're desperate to see the Sabres win the Cup someday, but they have to make the playoffs first.
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