The Sabres have a goal prevention issue. Many have boiled it down to a goaltendingissue, but it’s not that simple. Although, it’s played a big role.
Tage Thompson just tied the franchise record for goals in a game as part of a 9-4 win. The Sabres have scored four or more goals in seven of their last 10 games but are just 5-4-1 in that span. The Sabres have scored the most goals in the entire league but are six points out of the Wild Card race. It’s a peculiar situation they find themselves in and their inability to keep pucks out of their net is one of the most frustrating aspects of what’s been a promising season.
Buffalo is currently in the top half of the league in xGF% according to Natural Stat Trick and that positive goal differential is commendable considering the next closest differential belongs to the Flames who are dead even as of this writing and sitting 21st in the league in overall standings.
The Sabres’ recent loss to the Lightning was a contest that highlighted more than a few of Buffalo’s most notable struggles on the year. The penalty kill struggled, they surrendered a third period lead and their goaltending wasn’t up to snuff. Given how quickly things fell apart on the Sabres, I wanted to go back through the game and see how it all unfolded. Below are each of the six goals from the Tampa game broken down into a handful of key steps as each goal developed and was scored. It illustrates nicely just how many different factors came together to sink the Sabres and how many of these issues have been present in many of the team’s contests this year.
Back with another edition of the 2ITB Mailbag. Thanks to those who wrote in and if you want to participate in the next one, send me a tweet tagged with #2ITBmailbag.
@passoffpads – The year is 2025 and the Sabres are preparing for the Stanley Cup Finals (because even we can dream). Who is the goalie? Who is the captain? Who is the leading scorer? Who is the coach?
Let me just start by saying, I love your optimism. If the Sabres are a Cup contender in the 24-25 season, quite a few things will have needed to go right for them. The 2020 and 21 drafts will need to be paying dividends and the picks they’re set to make next June and in 2023 may have a say in that as well. I think Don Granato would still be the coach in this scenario, as the ramp up to Cup contender in that 24-25 season (or 25-26) would need to start in October of 2022. The likes of Owen Power, Jack Quinn and JJ Peterka will need to fill big roles and Granato will be the one welcoming them to the league next fall, so it’s only logical to conclude that the Sabres would be riding a wave that he helped start.
The Sabres might’ve taken the scenic route but they finally arrived at a decision on their head coach.
I’m not sure many were surprised to see Don Granato earn the removal of interim from his title, but the time between the end of the season and the official announcement was notable. It probably would’ve taken a really impactful interview to sway the Sabres off Granato, but the organization left that door open in case anyone was able to present themselves in an impressive enough fashion.
Credit to the Sabres for being thorough with their search, even if the most pessimistic among us may feel it was mostly for show. For a club that doesn’t get too many things right, it’s only fair to give them credit when they earn it.
As for their choice for the 20th head coach in franchise history, we’ll see what the next three years have to offer as he officially inherits a job that’s likely going to get a lot tougher in the coming weeks and months.
The Stanley Cup Final is rolling and we are here to offer up a series preview and prediction as the Lightning and Canadiens. We discuss who has the edge in net and whether or not Montreal can contain the impressive depth of Tampa Bay. We also touch on the Sabres coaching search and the NHL’s officiating issues.
It’s becoming more apparent that Don Granato will be named the next head coach of the Buffalo Sabres.
While not official as of the writing of this post, there has been a lot of smoke indicating that Granato will be retained and have the interim tag removed from his title. This comes after Elliotte Friedman noted that the Sabres are expected to give Granato clarity soon among other Tweets and notes over recent weeks. I believe the Sabres intent is to bring back the coaching staff as it was when Granato took over as interim coach, though that leaves openings in player development. So we’ll see what the staff looks like if Granato is indeed the choice.
With so many questions lingering around this offseason, it’s hard to say definitively what sort of coach the Sabres should have coveted. It seems as if Jack Eichel will be traded this summer, a move which will almost certainly trigger a rebuild for the Sabres. Should that be the case, Granato’s interim stint showed signs that he might be the perfect coach for a rebuilding team which will be leaning heavily on young players to play key roles.
It’s about time that we give Don Granato his own episode and even our best efforts to discuss his merits as the next Sabres head coach were partially interrupted by our NHL playoff preview. But we do spend a lot of time on the Sabres coaching search and on whether or not Granato is the best candidate for the job in Buffalo. We do offer up a few alternatives along the way as we do differ on whether Granato is the best hire the Sabres can make.
Buffalo’s young players have been getting plenty of attention since Don Granato took over, playing key roles in the Sabres’ stretch run. We discuss the impact some of the prospects and young players have had this spring and the potential that exists for that group to have a significant impact in the future as well. We also place focus on Don Granato and whether or not he should be the first choice as the long-term head coach of the team. There’s also bonus conversation on the European Super League and the fallout of the apparent failure of some of soccer’s biggest clubs to break off and make their own competition.