1. There’s a lot of ways to make sure you come out as the victor in a one-goal decision; but one guaranteed strategy is to maintain strong special teams. Prior to the game in Toronto, the Sabres were 3-9-2, with a lot of those losses being by a single goal. A lot of those losses also featured a miserable penalty kill, which at one point was ranked 27th in the NHL.
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise, then, that it was quite a bit more successful when the team went 2-0-1 on its recent three game roadtrip. The Sabres killed off seven of eight minor penalties on their way to acquiring five points in the standings, including a 5-on-3 situation against New York. That 86.8%, 2nd-rank PK unit was one of the biggest reasons behind the Sabres’ 100 point season last year, and why they were able to win so many tight games.
It’s not a coincidence that the last three games were decided by one goal, either.
2. Another very interesting turn of events features the past two Vezina Trophy winners; Ryan Miller and Tim Thomas. After winning the award for his success in the 2008-2009, season, Thomas struggled with inconsistency in net.
He eventually lost his starting role to Tuukka Rask for the Boston Bruins, as well as the top spot as netminder for the U.S. Olympic Team. Miller is now in the midst of his own ‘hangover’, with a .903 Save Percentage, a 2.71 Goals Against Average, and a disappointing 3-5-2 record.
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