We are now 31 games into the season and still struggling to find an identity. Our record is now 15-13-3, tied with Carolina at the 8th spot in the East(we have 15 wins to their 14). It is interesting to know(at least to me) that after 31 games last year we had exactly the same number of points, 33. It seems to me that we almost the same team as last year and it will probably come down to the last week of the season again whether or not we will make the playoffs.
One of the few bright spots to this season so far is that we have the league leading goal scorer in Thomas Vanek. Even with the team struggling to keep up in the standings it is nice to know we have at least one player other teams will respect. Last year he scored 36 goals with 26 of them coming after 12/18. If we extrapolate this years 24G in 31GP he is on pace for 63 this year. If we estimate more reasonably I would say add 26 more for what he scored over the same last year and he still ends with 50. It would be nice to see a 50 goal scorer in Buffalo again.
How do we stack up to the rest?
Thomas Vanek 24G 1rst in NHL
Derek Roy 17A t34th in NHL
Thomas Vanek 29PTS t26th in NHL
Drew Stafford +4 t124th in NHL
Adam Mair 66PIM 17th in NHL
Ryan Miller 2.61GAA 20th in NHL
Ryan Miller .908Sv% 22nd in NHL
Team GF 2.71/game 16th in NHL
Team GA 2.84/game t14th in NHL
5 on 5 .80 t27th in NHL
PP% 18.3 t16th in NHL
PK% 88.4 3rd in NHL
% of points earned .532 t16th in NHL
Will they make the playoffs?
According to http://www.sportsclubstat...ern/Northeast/Sabres.html
we have a 47.3% chance of making the playoffs. This is a neat site to figure out who we should root for in other games to increase our chances of getting to the postseason. It predicts that if we can get to 98pts there is a 100% chance we will make it. History says we need 94pts. If that is the case we need 61 more points in the next 51 games. This is a point % of .598/GP, which is approximately 12.4% better than we have done so far this season. It means we need to start playing some better hockey. In a previous blog (http://my.hockeybuzz.com/...174&post_id=6434
) I wrote about GAA being a dominant statistic in the chance of making the playoffs. If this holds true then we need to start concentrating on our defense before we fall out of the race. Who knows, maybe we can even try and trade for a solid defenseman to help us in our mission.(Not likely)
Well, I really hope we get on track and make the playoffs because it is such an exciting time of year. Last year I watched most of the playoffs but I could not really get into because of the disappointment in my Sabres season. I am really looking forward to growing a playoff beard again and watching games on the edge of my seat. I hope the players on the team can put forth the effort like they want to be there in the end. I believe when they are on their game they can beat anybody in the league. Unfortunately, they are rarely all on their game.