Things could go from bad to worse for the Buffalo Sabres this week when you take into account they are playing three of the best home teams in the NHL. Detroit, Chicago and St. Louis are a combined 52-10-8 in their building and the Sabres are ice cold on the road, losers of 8 straight and 9 of 10.
At a time like this you might hope that some individuals on a personal hot streak could carry the team to some much needed victories. Hence the problem. If you did a “who’s hot and who’s not” breakdown, most of the team is in the latter group.
I’ll start with a couple of core players. Derek Roy has scored just 2 goals in his last 14 games. Drew Stafford had 3 goals in the first 4 games of the season and looked like he would build off a breakout season. But Stafford has scored just 4 times in his last 39 games. Maybe the Sabres can retroactively add an out clause in his new deal making this a contract season again. Jochan Hecht played well upon return from his training camp injury with 3 goals in 6 games but coming back from a second stint on the injury list has yielded different results. Just 1 goal in his last 10 games.
How about recent acquisitions? Ville Leino seemed to be turning his game around before getting hurt but is pointless in 4 games since returning to the lineup. Bard Boyes remains a disappointment. He has a mere 3 goals for the season and has failed to register a single point in 23 of his 31 games played.
What about supporting cast? Nathan Gerbe has 1 goal in the last 21 games. Luke Adam has been completely shutout in the last 12 and has but 1 goal in the last 17 games. Cody Mccormick has yet to score a goal this season after getting 8 last season. The blueline isn’t helping either. Jordan Leopold has 2 goals in his last 17 games and Marc-Andre Gragnani has 1 goal all season.
Don’t look for the franchise goalie to come to the rescue. Ryan Miller has allowed at least 3 goals in 10 of his last 12 starts. How’s this for a depressing stat? In games where the Sabres score less than 3 goals, Miller’s record is a hideous 1-10-1.
Okay enough of the numbers that will make you sick to your stomach. What about the hot guys? This won’t take long. You know of course about Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. Neither player has gone more than 2 games without a point all season. Hey Patrick Kaleta is on fire with 3 points in his last 2 games. If Miller doesn’t turn his game around this week, Lindy Ruff might want to try riding Jhonas Enroth whose save percentage in his last 3 starts is .947 and his goals against is 2.25.