The hashtag set the tone for the month: #suffering. So here is the official tally on October for the Buffalo Sabres.
The 2-12-1 mark is tied for the second-fewest points earned in a month (with a minimum of 10 games) by the Sabres. Buffalo notched only four points in November 2002 (1-10-2). This is the third time the team has managed just five points in a month along with November 1971 (1-7-3) and October 1986 (1-7-2).
The Sabres have the worst goal differential in the league at minus-20. They’ve scored just 23 goals, good enough for second worst in the NHL (Philadelphia has scored just 20), while they’ve given up 43 (tied for second-worst with Calgary, both trailing Edmonton, which has surrendered 54).
Shots on goal have also been a losing battle. The Sabres have outshot their opponent just once this season, a 30-26 edge over Colorado on Oct. 19. The Avalanche, however, won that game, 4-2.
The shots on goal disparity was pretty significant in Thursday’s 2-0 loss to the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers held a 46-29 advantage, including 19-6 in the first period. The coaching staff is telling the team to shoot more. The players know they have to shoot more.
And yet there seems to be a disconnect.
“It’s a mentality right now for us, wanting to make a better play, I think,” Sabres coach Ron Rolston said. “I think that’s the same with a lot of our turnovers now through the neutral zone. We want to make a better play than is there and we’re not taking what is there.
“That’s one area right there you’ve got to take what’s there on those shots. We had real good looks where we didn’t get pucks down to the net.
“A team like the Rangers, they shoot from everywhere. When they get 40 shots they’re shooting from the snack bar – any possible area, they’re shooting from. And the more you do that, the more you’re going to put the other team’s defense on their heels a lot because they have to battle. Pucks are going to be around there and they’ve got to box out and get lanes to the net. It causes a lot more than that initial shot.”
John Scott said he would not appeal his seven-game suspension for his hit to the head of Boston’s Loui Eriksson on Oct. 23.
Scott has served four games of his suspension, which was handed out Thursday. He wants to move on from the incident. This is the first time the six-year NHL veteran has been suspended by the league.
Joel Armia, who has missed 14 games with a hand injury, still has not practiced. Rolston said he is close to being cleared to play but probably will not be placed on the Sabres roster.
“He’s probably within a week, I would imagine,” Rolston said. “We’ll probably send him down. He’s got to play some games. It would be tough throwing him right into this league.”