What Are The Buffalo Sabres Doing Right?

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Penalty Kill

Oct 14, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise (11) and Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mike Weber (6) fight for position in front of goalie Jhonas Enroth (1) during the third period at First Niagara Center. Wild beat the Sabres 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

There are only five teams in the NHL that have a better success rate when it comes to the penalty kill.   Of those five teams (Colorado, Toronto, Vancouver, Columbus, Detroit) only the Red Wings have committed more penalties than the Sabres, and two teams have had to kill off less than 15 penalties so far this season (Colorado, and Columbus).   Bottom line: the Sabres’ 87% success rate on the pk is pretty impressive.

Now, we have to accredit a good deal of Buffalo’s success at killing off penalties to the Sabres’ goaltending tandem . . . but I’ll be discussing them in a bit, so hold that thought.  It takes more than just solid netminding to kill off penalties, however.  As clueless as the Sabres have often looked in even-strength situations (and I’ve already demonstrated that here), they have been surprisingly sound defenders when it comes to the penalty kill, employing a 1-3 scheme to put pressure on the puckhandlers while they clog the middle of the ice.  Buffalo’s forwards have also been aggressive in challenging the opposing team’s blueliners, trying to deflect passes or just disrupt them enough to cause a turnover.  Breakdowns do still occur – I felt Cody Hodgson should have continued to pressure the puckhandler last night on the play that resulted in Jason Pominville scoring the winning goal – but so far, the Sabres are exceptional at killing off penalties.

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Topics: Buffalo Sabres

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  • dave

    There’s nothing to point out it is so bad I can hardly stand to sit through a whole game

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      That’s not the spirit I was shooting for, Dave!!!! :D

    • [email protected]

      You can hardly stand to sit?? That made me laugh.

  • Jes

    Positives Players

    1. Goalies – Played unbelievably well throughout every game (Minus CBJ ame, damn you Miller). They were hung to dry on most nights.

    2. Pysyk – Honestly our best defenseman.

    3. Kaleta – Got his first suspension of the season out of the way. So that should maybe leave one more. LOL.

    Honestly other than Pysyk, Enroth and Miller no other bright spots.

    Positive areas of game

    1. Goaltending

    2. PK

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Ha ha – love what you said about Kaleta! Pysyk has been great; Larsson and Girgensons often make things happen when they play (which isn’t enough) . . . yeah, that’s about it for players!

      • Jes

        Ya I was thinking about putting those two on the list but in all fairness they show up in a streaky pattern. For most part if they are working as hard as we think they are the should be putting up regular points and stuff. I’d like to see Grigorenko, Girgensons and Larsson get more than 10 mins a game to be honest.

  • qwicwted

    As JimBob has so aptly put it, our guys are getting a lot of on the job training – just not all the right guys. We do need to see more of Girgensons and Larsson. Hodgson is working on improving his FO and Defense and Stafford has shown signs of life. The one positive is that our guys have not been blown out and our goalies have kept them in all the games. Maybe a win tonight will boost the confidence.

  • Dano

    “My poor, fellow, dear, suffering Buffalo Sabres fans . . . .”

    *I* am not ‘ suffering. GO STAND IN THE CORNER RICH! :)

    Something positive that nobody has touched on. Were seeing new faces and hopefully we might get a chance to watch them grow.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      My shame knows no limits . . . :D