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Sabres: What happened?

Now that its official and we know the Sabres will be spectators come playoff time for the second straight season, you might be wondering “where did it all go wrong”?

Unfortunately there are a number of areas in which the 2012-2013 edition of the Buffalo Sabres did not perform well.

You can start with team defense since the Sabres goals against average of 2.98 is the highest since the 1995-96 season.  More often than not it was the fault of the defensemen and forwards as opposed to Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth.

Problems ranged from breakdowns in coverage and turnovers in their own end to losing one on one battles for pucks in the defensive zone and forwards blowing the zone too early.  No team has given up more shots per game this season than the Sabres.

Special teams have been anything but special.  The power play is the second worst in the league, scoring just 13% of the time.  Buffalo also led the NHL in shorthanded goals allowed with seven.

The Sabres penalty kill is ranked 26th out of 30 teams, which isn’t good for a team that averages the sixth most penalty minutes a game.

The Sabres spent way too much time chasing the puck this season and some of that could be attributed to the fact they are the second worst team in faceoffs, winning 46% of the time.

If they fell behind early it usually meant a loss was on the way.  Buffalo was 1-10-1 when trailing after the first period.

They didn’t take advantage of games against the Southeast Division, considered by many to be the weakest of the six.  The Sabres were a horrible 3-9-2 against Washington, Winnipeg, Carolina, Florida and Tampa Bay.

There wasn’t much to speak of in terms of balanced scoring.  Only three players are in double digits in goals scored although it would be four if Jason Pominville wasn’t traded.

The failure of the Tyler Ennis, Drew Stafford and Marcus Foligno line to play anywhere near the way they did at the end of last season was a big problem for the offense. They were broken up early in the season and rarely played together again.  

Ennis does have 10 goals and 30 points which is third on the team but he’s also a minus 13. Foligno had a quiet first half of the season and was a healthy scratch at one point.  Stafford took yet another step backwards.  From 31 goals two years ago to 20 last season to six this season in 43 games.  Stafford is also an unsightly minus 17.  Only three forwards in the league have a worse plus/minus.

In the first year of his big contract, Tyler Myers play contributed to the struggles of the team.  Myers who was, quite honestly, a train wreck at times, ended the season minus eight and scored just three goals to go along with eight assists in 39 games.


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