The Buffalo Sabres haven’t scored more than two goals in a game since October 30. In their past seven contests, Buffalo’s averaging an abysmal 1.42 goals a game while going 2-3-2.
Let that sink in for a minute – nine goals in seven games.
What’s even crazier is the Sabres have actually managed to earn six points over that seven-game stretch. If nothing else, this says a lot about their goaltending.
This season Buffalo has scored just 29 goals (1.93 average per game). Only Colorado has less with 27.
So why can’t the Sabres score?
Well, it has a lot to do with some of their bigger name forwards failing to produce early on.
Don’t get me wrong, some players have stepped up. But if you told me that Matt Moulson would lead the team in scoring one month into the season, I would have said you were crazy. The 33-year-old forward has only six goals -- two less than he had all of last season. Moulson has proven to be a valuable asset on the power play and looks like the player we saw a few years ago, which is an encouraging sign.
Aside from Moulson, I’ve liked Kyle Okposo who has nine points (5G, 4A) and Ryan O’Reilly, who also has nine points (4G, 5A)... but that’s pretty much it.
In 15 games Sam Reinhart has only two goals, Zemgus GIrgensons (15 GP) has only one goal, and Evander Kane -- who has only played in four games -- has still not scored.
Since returning from injury Kane has generated some chances, but has basically just taken costly penalties that have really hurt the Sabres. It should be noted that Kane isn’t playing 100-percent while recovering from cracked ribs, but he’s too good of a player to not be contributing. Of course, it’s a little early to jump all over Kane for his lack of production, but he needs to score or at least register an assist before things go from bad to worse.
Before the season the Sabres re-signed Girgensons to a one-year deal. Like Moulson, 2015 was a rough season for Girgensons, finishing with only 18 points. At the time I really liked the contract, but early on Girgensons has once again struggled. In 15 games he has four points (1G, 3A) and has a minus-5 plus-minus rating. Girgensons has been moved up and down the lineup, playing with several different lines since the season started. That doesn’t help with chemistry or getting into a rhythm, but he needs to do more. Without Jack Eichel this team needs to produce goals from all four lines and Girgensons needs to be one of the guys that steps up.
This has been a weird season for Reinhart. He only has six points in 15 games (2G, 4A) but has been all over the place, alternating between center and wing, where he played almost all of last season. Reinhart has been good in his own end and made some unbelievable passes to set up a few goals, but he isn’t scoring as much as he was last season. Obviously, not having Jack Eichel on his line doesn’t help things, but I don’t think any of us were only anticipating him having two goals through the first 15 games -- even without Eichel.
Calling all defensemen
The Buffalo Sabres still don’t have a goal from a blue-liner. Rasmus Ristolainen has eight points -- which isn’t bad by any stretch -- but has gone cold the last few weeks after a blazing hot start.
Jake McCabe, who I think Is Buffalo’s second best defender, has three points (plus-2). His partner Cody Franson, who has taken a lot of criticism from fans and myself, has four points (plus-3) and has started playing better... but that’s it:
Zach Bogosian: 9 games played, 0 points, minus-2
Dmitry Kulikov: 12 games played, 0 points, minus-4
Josh Gorges: 15 games played, 0 points, minus-2
Casey Nelson: 7 games played, 0 points, minus-2
Justin Falk: 2 games played, 0 points, minus-1
I understand the Sabres are banged up and are missing their most talented player – but the scoring woes aren’t just because Jack Eichel isn’t in the lineup. If Buffalo is going to turn things around, they’ll need to start finding the back of the net.
1.93 goals a game just won’t work.