Shameful statistics for the Buffalo Sabres over their final back-to-back of 2023

New year, new Buffalo Sabres, right? That’s the hope, because the Blue and Gold could not have ended the calendar year in a worse fashion.

Dec 31 2023; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mattias Samuelsson (23) skates with the
Dec 31 2023; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mattias Samuelsson (23) skates with the / Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
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We knew the Buffalo Sabres were an awful bunch following a win, and they are now 1-10-4 on the year in games after securing the W. But that track record is just the tip of the iceberg when you consider how poorly they played the two worst teams in the Eastern Conference to end 2023. 

They were tasked with facing goaltenders Daniil Tarasov and Anton Forsberg on back-to-back nights, as they have done all season, they made this fringe duo look more like Vezina contenders than backup netminders. How bad did it get? In his postgame recap, Mike Harrington of Buffalo News shared the following ultra-shameful statistics. 

"“In the two games over the weekend, Saturday's overtime win over Columbus and whatever this was, the Sabres took 153 shots. They put 88 of them on goal. They had 40 blocked. They scored four goals, for a sickly shooting percentage of 4.55.”"

Mike Harrington

Source: Observations: Sabres bid adieu to 2023 with dreary loss in Ottawa

And as mentioned in last night’s post-game piece, the Sabres knew how to get shots on net, 46 of them total, but there was no urgency. It was almost like they were saying to their fanbase, “There, see, we know how to get shots on goal.” The problem is that a goaltender who just found themselves demoted to the ECHL would have stopped most of those low-quality shots. 

Buffalo Sabres put up shameful stats in final two games of 2023

So many fans have asked, “What happened to this team?” And following last night’s outing, it’s only natural to wonder how a group that finished third in the league last year in scoring has fallen flat on its face more often than not. It’s pretty much the same team they had last season, so shouldn’t the Sabres, you know, be even better?

Here’s a theory: They’re a young hockey team that has no idea how to win games in other ways consistently. Opponents figured out the high-octane play that made them so good last year, but they were such a one-trick group that they had and still have no idea how to win in any other way except for what they were used to. 

That therein lies the problem, at least in theory. For 2024, the Buffalo Sabres have a lot to figure out, and 38 games into the season, they need to figure it out by the end of the month if they plan on playing meaningful games in March 2024. 

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(More information provided by Hockey-Reference)