One stat the Sabres MUST improve in next season

Apr 13, 2024; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Buffalo Sabres right wing Jack Quinn (22) reacts after scoring
Apr 13, 2024; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Buffalo Sabres right wing Jack Quinn (22) reacts after scoring / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Just like in every sport, scoring first gives you an immediate advantage. It allows you to take the lead and dictate how the rest of the game plays out. No team likes playing behind but if the team who is trailing allows the first or leading goal, then that team has to work even harder to even up the game or take the lead.

In the case of the Buffalo Sabres, giving up the first goal was a common theme during the 2023/2024 season. In so many of the 82 games they played, the Sabres found themselves trailing and sometimes it was very early in the game. Buffalo gave up the first goal in 45 games this year and their record was not good when they did.

When giving up the first goal, the Sabres were 13-28-4. As I mentioned earlier, most of those goals were early into the game. Whether it was the first two minutes or the first few minutes of the game, it happened way too many times.

On the flip side, the team's record was better when they were the ones who scored first. Buffalo scored first in the other 37 games, in which they had a record of 26-9-2. The difference in the records is pretty noticeable and you have to think their overall record would have been much better than the 39-37-6 record they had in 2023/2024.

Under new head coach Lindy Ruff, let's hope he can change things around. When it comes to scoring first, that's on the players. But I hope Ruff can have a system in place that prevents the team from trailing in over half of the games they played throughout the season.

Breaking down each month, Buffalo allowed the first goal in 10 games during November and December. These are not combining games, the Sabres were trailing first 10 times in both November AND December. In regards to being the ones who scored first, March was the best month as they scored the first goal eight times.

It was a glaring issue all season and with Ruff at the helm, hopefully, they score first more often next year as the record was good when they did.