An attempt to be humorous and logical about the Buffalo Sports Scene.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What went wrong part 2

In todays episode, why we failed to make the playoffs. Its losing points. It all comes down to points. Dropping critical points against opponents, is crucial. A dropped game in October, haunts you more then a game in March. Pittsburgh downright sucked for the first half of the year, but started getting those points early on, and cruised when the team got healthy. But nowhere is this more obvious for the Sabres, then dropping points against worse opponents. I have gone through the record and bunched the Sabres record against 4 kinds of opponents.

Eastern Conference Playoff teams 19-14-3
Eastern Conference non Playoff Teams 13-10-5
Western Conference Playoff teams 3-7
Western Conference non Playoff teams 6-1-1

They did feast on the weakest of the West. Which is good. But they did not feast against the weakest of the East. And only with 2 of the 5 non playoff teams in the East did they have a winning record against (Leafs and Panthers). And against the Thrashers and Sens, they were downright horrible, a combined 1-4-5. These are the games that cost them down the stretch. Out of 20 possible points, they only took 7. While playing against the Coyotes and Oilers, they took 13 out of 16 points. Thats nice, but you play them once. Not 4 times, or 6 times in the Senators case. Yes they owned the Leafs going 5-1 against them, but going 0-0-4 against the Thrashers is not forgivable.

In fact you can say the Sabres were better against the East' best, then the dregs. They had a losing record against 1 of the 8 playoff teams, the Flyers, going 0-4. Here are the Sabres record against the top 8.

Boston 4-2
Washington 2-2
New Jersey 2-2
Pittsburgh 2-1-1
Philadelpha 0-4
Carolina 2-1-1
Ny Rangers 3-1
Montreal 4-1-1

When you take the points possible percentage (ppp) The Sabres took 57% of the points against Playoff teams versus 55% from non playoff teams in the Eastern Conference. Yes thats even, but the percentage should be much higher against the Non Playoff teams. The PPP versus the Western Conference teams is 81% against the Non Playoff teams, and 30% against the playoff teams. Sure the lack of games can skew percentages. And when you add the totals of the Western Conference games you get a 53% ppp. (Yes I invented that statistic) I guess, when you look at things, the Sabres are only going to take about 55% of the points that are possible to them. That isn't good enough these days. You have to get to 60. No game is a throwaway. A loss to Calgary is just as a waste as a loss to Atlanta.

The teams that keep it close and get those loser points are the ones that get into the top 8 come mid April. The Sabres yes were better in the shootout (9-5 this year vs 4-9 last year), which saved them from being below the Senators and Leafs. But in games actual decided in Overtime, they went from 5-3 to 2-4. The Sabres win two of those games, thats two points, and that puts them in the Playoffs.

The team is a razor thin margin away from being in the playoffs. Which means the team isn't good enough. Which means changes are necessary. They can't get just 55% of the points available. They have to get 60%. You get 60. You make the Playoffs. In fact you do it without any pressure.

Now they have to get the players that get them there, or motivate the ones here to achieve that goal. Otherwise, we are looking at a empty HSBC Arena come mid April again next year.

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Buffalo, NY, United States
A Stay at home dad, who has more hot takes then your average stay at home dad.