Buffalo Sabres Victory Has Costly Implications


The Buffalo Sabres skated well last night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.  They got had some bounces go their way, and got four goals on a goaltender in Anton Forsberg; a guy with limited NHL experience.

It isn’t like the Columbus Blue Jackets threw the towel in on this game, the Sabres have been playing depth chart goaltenders all season long.  Their lack of scoring has given other teams that luxury when playing the Buffalo Sabres.

Buffalo Sabres Lose Top Scorers To Injury

In a season when scoring is at a premium for the Buffalo Sabres, it isn’t a good sign that they lost their two top goal scorers in the same game.

Zemgus Girgensons and Tyler Ennis have combined for 30 goals so far this season; that doesn’t seem like a lot, but when no one else on the team scores goals regularly; it can be a problem.

Those thirty goals amount for twenty-seven percent of the goals scored by the team so far this year, even more if you take out the goals counted by the league as “game winning shootout goals”.

Zemgus Girgensons only played half the game for the Buffalo Sabres.  He had to be helped off the ice after taking a James Wisniewski slapshot off his right ankle.  Girgensons was unable to put any weight on the foot, and his season is likely over.  The team hasn’t ruled out the fact that he could return this year, but the fear is that the Buffalo Sabres will have to shut down the teams most prolific prospect.

Ted Nolan believes that the prognosis on Tyler Ennis will be a more day to day injury, a result of more wear and tear on the body as opposed to any one incident.

While those two players are sidelined, the leading goal scorer title among active skaters now falls on the shoulders of Chris Stewart, with just ten goals on the season.  There is a very real chance that he is not on the team much longer either, with the trade deadline less than a week to go, and Stewart on an expiring contract.

Matt Moulson will likely get to double digit scoring, he is at nine goals on the season so far. Brian Gionta and Marcus Foligno are the next offensive threats, with just six goals apiece.

For fans fearing that the play of Michal Neuvirth is going to dethrone the Buffalo Sabres from the last spot in the league and pull them out of contention for one of the top two draft spots, the loss of offensive talent might be a god-send.

After going 0-12 in the month of January, the Buffalo Sabres have done slightly better in the month of February, and that is largely in part due to the goaltending situation.   Neuvirth has stepped his game up since being crowned the de facto number one goalie as a result of the trade that sent Jhonas Enroth to the Dallas Stars.

In February, the Buffalo Sabres are 4-5-2, with two games remaining on the schedule.  They play the Vancouver Canucks without Ryan Miller on Thursday, and play the Florida Panthers Saturday afternoon.

Next: Neuvirth Emerging As Good Goalie Candidate

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