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Sabres come out flying in first

by John Kreiser


Category Rank (Conference)
2008-09 Points 91
(10TH EAst/18TH NHL)
Change from 2007-08 +1
Home Points 49
(11TH EAst/20TH NHL)
Away Points 42
(8TH EAst/12TH NHL)
Advantage Margin            +22
Few teams had a home-road split to match the Sabres, who received 45 more advantages than the opposition at home (194-149) but gave opponents 23 more (164-187) away from home.

Even-Strength Goals Margin        -3
The Sabres' best plus-minus number belonged to oft-injured center Tim Connolly, who was plus-12 while scoring 37 points in 48 games. Having him healthy all season would be a big boost for Buffalo.
Special Teams Goal Margin        +16
Buffalo was excellent on the power play away from HSBC Arena, finishing fourth in percentage (23.8) and third in goals (39)

Goals by defensemen            23
The Sabres didn't get much scoring from their blue line anyway, and much of that offense left town when Jaroslav Spacek (8 goals) signed with Montreal.

Overtime Record
Total: 10-4-5 (OT: 2-4, SO: 8-5)

The Sabres were especially good in shootouts at home, winning five of six by outscoring the opposition 9-3 in 21 attempts by each side. They were just 3-4 away from home.
Times Scored First
44 (Record: 29-10-5)
No team in the Eastern Conference was better at getting the jump on the opposition on the road when the Sabres, who scored the game's first goal 25 times away from HSBC Arena. However, Buffalo tied Ottawa with a League-high 13 road losses (nine in regulation, four in OT) when scoring first.

Best 08-09 Number             58

Goals allowed by the Sabres in the first period, tying them with the New York Rangers for the fourth-lowest total in the NHL (the League low was 54 by Columbus). Buffalo scored 81 times in the opening period, giving the Sabres a plus-23 margin.

Worst 08-09 Number          7-14-3
Sabres' record when Ryan Miller wasn't in goal. Buffalo appeared to be on the way to the playoffs before Miller was injured in a behind-the-net collision on Feb. 21. They went 4-7-2 while he was injured. Miller eventually recovered, but his team didn't.
Buffalo has an excellent chance to get off to a fast start -- the Sabres play five of their first six games at HSBC Arena. But they have a seven-game trip in January, a five-gamer in March and end the season with five of their six games in April away from home.

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