5 monumental setbacks that crushed the Sabres 2023-24 season

The Buffalo Sabres season isn’t officially over, but it would take a 180-degree turnaround for this team to end its playoff drought this year.
Buffalo Sabres v Edmonton Oilers
Buffalo Sabres v Edmonton Oilers / Lawrence Scott/GettyImages
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Making zero adjustments in the home opener

Next to the top item in this slideshow, you may have noticed a theme here: Every other slide has to do with the Sabres inconsistency when they had the puck, and it started with the first game of the season. Remember when the New York Rangers played a 1-3-1 defense that the Sabres couldn’t figure out?

New York provided a blueprint on how to stop the Sabres, and that was to prevent them from cleanly handling the puck past the neutral zone. Buffalo saw something similar the following game against a physical Islanders team that has landed over 25 checks per game on average. 

It’s not that the Sabres haven’t improved offensively since those first two games, but opponents knew how to stop what was one of the league’s best scoring units from a season ago. 

Tweaking the style, injuries, and playing bad hockey against backup goaltenders all contributed. But once again, just think about how many close games the Sabres may have won had the coaching staff just figured things out faster. 

Buffalo has been a better team in 2024 than they were at the end of 2023, but their 105 goals in the current calendar year averages just 3.08 per game. Once again, adjust that number to 82 contests, and you get 253 goals, which is barely better than their current pace. 


(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)