Despite the win in Tampa, the Buffalo Sabres have a number of problems to solve. The main one being, of course, their record. They need to put together a lot of wins and fast but you probably shouldn't expect that from a team that has yet to win more than two games in a row this season.
Maybe the win in Tampa two nights ago is a sign that new Coach Ron Rolston will be able to clean up their own end but it's only one game and the Sabres gave up four goals to the Islanders in the game prior to that one.
While addressing play in the defensive zone, Rolston can't ignore what's happening in the offensive zone. Actually, the problem is what isn't happening in the offensive zone and that would be goals.
Buffalo has scored two or fewer goals in four straight games and six of their last eight. They have a total of twelve goals in those eight games and a 2-6 record in that stretch.
Thomas Vanek has cooled off after a red hot start. Jason Pominville has been nearly invisible. The remaining three lines of forwards aren't contributing enough and that leaves the Sabres in an offensive funk.
Vanek has one goal in his last eight games although he may be playing through injuries. Pominville has just one point in his last 10 games, a goal in the loss to Winnipeg. Its his worst offensive stretch since the 2005-06 season when he managed a mere two points over 15 games.
Off to the second line where Tyler Ennis has been producing but Drew Stafford and Marcus Foligno have not. Stafford has one goal in twenty games and has been held pointless 13 times this season. Foligno also has but one goal and it came in the fifth game of the season.
But Foligno's 15 game goal scoring drought is not the longest on the team. Nathan Gerbe has yet to score a goal in the 16 games he's played in and Jochan Hecht is 0 for 20. Hecht has equaled his career worst slump. He went 20 games without a goal in the 2002-03 season.
If you go back to last season, you'll find that Hecht didn't score in the last 11 games so his goal-less streak is actually at 31 games. Hecht's last goal came way back on December 30,2011 although he did miss the final three months of last season due to concussion issues.
Other players hoping to thaw out their game in the remaining time in Florida include Steve Ott who has one goal in his last eight games and Pat Kaleta who is still looking for his first point of the season. He has zero's across the scoring board in 15 games.
The Vanek, Pominville and Cody Hodgson line has combined for 27 goals. 11 other forwards have mustered a grand total of 12 goals.
If the Sabres could get the power play going that would be a big help but their man advantage production this month has been almost nil. Buffalo is an unfathomable 2 for 47 on the power play which is a success rate of .04%. Something happened when the calendar flipped because the Sabres connected at a 24% clip in January, going 6 for 25.
Vanek accounts for 5 of the team's 8 power play goals on the season. Pominville, Ott and Tyler Myers have one each. The last Sabre other than Vanek to actually score on the power play was Pominville on January 29th vs Toronto, some 15 games ago.
The Sabres have only one road power play goal all season in 34 man up chances. It was Vanek in Boston on January 31st.
The horrendeous shot differential is exactly the reason I voted the Sabres aren't an improved team so far. Only reason, they are in games is goal tending despite a terrible defense and lack of puck control.