The Buffalo Sabres are one of the NHL’s best teams in the third period in 2023-24

While the Buffalo Sabres have routinely struggled to play 60 minutes on most nights, they are among the league’s best in the final 20.

Jan 4, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Buffalo Sabres forward JJ Peterka (77) takes a shot on the
Jan 4, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Buffalo Sabres forward JJ Peterka (77) takes a shot on the / Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

In a season that involves searching for positives through the first 39 games, the Buffalo Sabres have one mind-boggling statistic that puts them in the top-three in the NHL. Last season, it was goals scored, but this year, it’s all about goals scored in the third period. 

After 39 contests, the Blue and Gold are currently second in the league in third period scoring with 50 goals, or 1.28 per game, and their plus-14 sits at fourth, something that Mike Harrington of Buffalo News pointed out on X (formerly Twitter. In a later post, Harrington also cited the Sabres meager numbers in the first period, which currently sit at 27 goals scored, and an abysmal minus-24.

It’s also worth noting that the Sabres, despite winning 6-1 last night against the Montreal Canadiens, once again failed to score in the opening stanza. To their credit, they didn’t allow any goals, but through the first game of 2024, the first period numbers you see above aren't getting any better. 

Buffalo Sabres rock in the third period, pedestrian in the first

Also last night, the Sabres struck gold in the third frame again, scoring four of their six goals in the closing period. There have also been numerous times when we saw them pick up their energy in the third, often after scoring a goal, but they would be down by so many that mounting a comeback was out of the question. 

Not that this hasn’t happened in 2023-24, as they found themselves down by two goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins back on November 24th, and they completed the comeback. Perhaps that will come in handy again tomorrow night, as the Buffalo Sabres travel to Pittsburgh in what will be their season finale against an aging Penguins team.

If the Sabres manage to win it, they will snag just their second winning streak of the season, but it will also inch them closer to that seemingly inevitable 0.500 mark. That said, if the Blue and Gold keep it close tomorrow heading into the third, they have a good chance to skate away with a two-game winning streak.