The dust has settled on the opening week of this year’s hockey season, and the Buffalo Sabres have established a presence in the very bottom of the league. Three games, two goals, one week and zero wins to show for it. Not the strongest numbers to open up a season with; in fact, the Sabres are off to their worst start ever. In their history as a franchise, the Sabres have never lost their opening three games in regulation.
It’s looking like the Sabres are continuing where they left off last season; struggling to create offense, looking lost on defense and relying on their goaltenders to bail them out of close games.
Everyone got a taste of the NHL realignment in last Wednesday’s opener. It was great to see the Sabres open up their season against a new division rival in the Detroit Red Wings, but honestly, they got embarrassed, and the whole country got to witness it on the NBC Sports Network. The final 2-1 score was misleading as to how the game really went. The Red Wings skated circles around a young Buffalo team in what looked more like an AHL vs. NHL exhibition matchup.
Their home opener was a better effort, and two of the best goalies the United States has to offer got to showcase their abilities. But there were no heroes for the home team, falling to one measly goal scored by Erik Karlsson late in the third period. In a game where your goalie stops 45 out of 46 shots, your offense better have something to show for. Leaving a big fat goose egg on the scoreboard in their home opener was not the way the Sabres needed to start this year.
On Saturday, they fared no better against a stacked Penguins team. Thomas Vanek finally found the back of the net, but the rest of their offense was nowhere to be found, and their puck control was miserable. Although letting up 3 goals, Jhonas Enroth looked good in net for Buffalo filling in for an injured Miller.
The Sabres need to get their powerplay rolling, and they desperately need to contain their shots against per game. It’s no wonder Ryan Miller had to sit out with an injury on Saturday after the barrage of shots he faced Friday night. When opponents are averaging 13 more shots per game than Buffalo, it’s a recipe for disaster.
The return of Marcus Foligno might be the spark this offense needs to get going as he is expected to make his season debut tomorrow against the Tampa Bay Lightning.