Stats To Feel Good About!
The other day I wrote a post detailing why, despite some fans making a ruckus, the Sabres are living the good life right now. I will say, I forgot to mention @ScottyMCSS and his rainbows-and-sunshine tweeting as being the inspiration for my post. Well, the Sabres are currently riding a four game winning streak and enjoying their secondary scoring coming to life, so I figured why not point out some other bright spots about their early season for fun?
After the jump, you’ll find a whole pile of team stats lined up for your viewing pleasure. Who knows – maybe I’ll make this a regular feature, updated every ten games.
Record: 10-5-0, 20 points (2nd in Northeast Division, 5th in Eastern Conference)
Their ten wins are T-2nd in the NHL – only Dallas has more, with 11.
Home record: 5-4-0 (6th in Eastern Conference, 11th overall)
Away record: 5-1-0 (4th in Eastern Conference, 7th overall)
Surprise, surprise – the Sabres struggled to win at home to start the season, while they’re playing the usual role of road warriors. They need to figure out why they’re not playing up to potential all the time at home, which should be their fortress, but it’s always nice to offset hometown doldrums with a sterling road record. While their home record is still in the top of the table, it’s their lowest-ranked team stat.
ROW (Regulation plus overtime wins): 9 (T-1st overall)
As well all know, ROW is the most important stat when it comes to tiebreakers at the end of the season. So far the Sabres are on the right track.
G/G (Goals per game): 3.07 (5th overall)
GA/G (Goals against per game): 2.27 (7th overall)
GF (Goals for): 47 (Technically 46, due to a shootout win. 6th in Eastern Conference, 6th overall)
GA (Goals against): 34 (3rd in Eastern Conference, 7th overall)
DIFF (Goals for/against differential): +13 (T-2nd in Eastern Conference, T-2nd overall)
The Sabres are currently enjoying a goals-for output comparable to their high-powered 2006/2007 attack, but it probably won’t last. There’s the old adage that goals are harder to score as the season drags on, and maybe Alex might want to devote a Vulgar Stats column to that saying. Their goals-against is pretty respectable, buoyed by Jhonas Enroth’s low GAA while Ryan Miller works through his struggles after his strong open to the season.
5-5 F/A (Five-on-five goals for/against ratio): 1.45 (2nd overall)
I feel this stat is important because games are mostly played five-on-five and, while special teams can change a game, you can have great special teams and still suck. Example: The Senators have the 3rd best power play but are terrible.
PP% (Power play success): 18.6% (10th overall)
PK% (Penalty kill success): 90.7% (3rd overall)
10th overall PP isn’t bad, but should be better with the weapons the Sabres can put on the ice during man-up situations. 3rd overall PK is not only not surprising (Lindy Ruff prides himself on having a good penalty kill) but fairly expected. Personally, the penalty kill is my favorite aspect of a hockey game. A good kill can get the crowd jacked up and boost a team.
I’ll add more stats to these posts as the season goes on, but for right now, the Sabres are looking pretty good on paper. Their only real problem area is performance at home, but they’ve got a winning record in First Niagara Center now so things are improving. Tonight they play their bitter division rivals from Boston and look to improve their road record to 6-1-0 while staying undefeated against divisional rivals (currently 3-0-0). Game preview post up later.