Buffalo Sabres Behind The Numbers: Zone Starts


The Buffalo Sabres are currently in the race for 30th spot.  Their lead has dropped down to only 5 points and it is kinda of funny to listen to people talk about it and begin to get nervous and frustrated that they are actually scoring points and winning.  Something I don’t think that I would have ever heard about a team that fans, if they can call themselves that, would actually be doing.

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Nonetheless, we are back with some more looks behind the numbers with the Buffalo Sabres.  The Buffalo Sabres are not a great team, but they do have some talent on the team, and it seems that this year, when ever anyone shows a little bit of promise, the first thought is to trade them away, but that is another discussion for another day.

Today in our behind the numbers we will take a look at the Buffalo Sabres and the zone starts that they have been able to put together.  A zone start is where the face off occurs.  There are three zones, the offensive, defensive and neutral zone as well.

Based on War-On-Ice, the Buffalo Sabres have had a total of 2745 face-offs to date.  Of those 2745 face-offs, just about 34.5% of those face-offs have occurred in the neutral zone.  Not too bad, just over a third.  Now, 27% of those face-offs or 737 face-offs have occurred in the Buffalo Sabres offensive zone.  The remaining 1059 face-offs or 38.5% of the face-offs are occurring in the defensive zone for the Sabres.

The Buffalo Sabres are having to start and play out of their end more often than not.  They are consistently having to win the face-off and get out of the zone, to begin to set up a rush rather than winning the face-off and immediately working on the offensive.  A good defensive leads to a good and productive offense, but there is a time when too much defense starts to wear on a team.

Just switching the offensive and defensive zone starts around, would lead to more scoring chances and in essence should lead to more goals.  When a team is constantly playing defense and trying to get the puck out of their zone, it takes a toll on the entire team and the fans.  Being able to set up in the offensive zone is what sets bad teams from good teams apart and what sets good teams from great teams apart.

Sidney Crosby stated earlier in the year that they were working to be able to have possession in the offensive zone for at least 30 seconds each time they were in the offensive zone.  The Penguins are a great team and have been for the past couple of years.  It helps when you are starting in the offensive zone and don’t have to work to get to that point.

Next: Buffalo Sabres Weekly Three Stars: Feb. 23

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