Sabres success sustainable?


Scott Dugas

Sabres’ Dylan Cozens locking down the blue line during a power play in the second period verses the Montreal Canadiens.

Andrew Forsyth, Sports Writer

The Sabres have done the Sabres usual and are off to a fast start in October finishing 6-3-0 for the month and sitting second place in the Atlantic Division.

But is it sustainable?

The Sabres are a young team who have had a few huge statement wins scoring some wins over offensive juggernauts such as the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, as well as a bludgeoning of the Detroit Red Wings.

Although in those two wins against the Battle of Alberta participants the Sabres were bailed out by goaltending. In the Edmonton game, Eric Comrie made 46 saves on 48 shots with an incredible showing. Also, in the Calgary game Comrie made 40 saves on 43 shots in a 6-3 win for the Sabres.

In all honesty though it’s not as if the Sabres are not getting the offensive firepower to coincide with the stellar goaltending as well. The Sabres are third in the league in goals scored at 37 in 9 games. They are also second in goals per game at 4.11. Only behind Boston in both cases.

They’re third in goals differential with a +17 difference. They sit only behind Boston and the Vegas Golden Knights. Although this doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story.

The Sabres have an average 32.88 shots against which is the 10th highest in the league. Although what tells the story is when you look deeper into these numbers.

Against playoff teams from last year the Sabres are averaging 42.67 shots against in three games against playoff teams. Then when they play against non playoff teams they average 28 shots against per game in six games against these teams.

So the Sabres play bad teams very well and dominate, although they barely get by great and good teams getting bailed out by goaltending most of the time.

To be honest, it is very doubtful that this goaltending stays as good as it has been. Comrie has not played more than 19 games once in his career and he has already played six games this season and looks like he’ll play the majority of the Sabres games.

It is possible he keeps up this great play but it’s not something to rely on.

Then we take a look at veteran goalie Craig Anderson. Anderson played 31 games last year and finished with a .897 save percentage.

He has not finished with a save percentage over .910 in six seasons and that is when he was 35. He is now 41 and it is highly unlikely this lack of regression continues.

Eventually these two guys are going to come back down to earth and when they do it’ll be a real test for the Sabres. They have good offensive firepower but the lack of team defense against good teams is worrying.

Without an elite goaltender giving up 32 shots a game will eventually come back to bite them.

The Sabres are white hot and continue to prove they’re not to be taken lightly and can hang with anyone in the league. Although once the goaltending drops off, if it drops off, then I think we’ll see the true potential of this team.

It is reasonable to think the offense we are seeing from the Sabres is sustainable as they have great depth and young potential. Although the goaltending is what seems to be the biggest question mark.

If goaltending stays consistent then the Sabres will stay winning.

The sustainability of the Sabres success simply falls into the performance of the goaltending. The Sabres look to make a step into success this season and it is entirely possible.

So the Sabres success is sustainable, as long as goaltending stays consistent. Either way, the Sabres will be an interesting team to keep an eye on with this early success.

Let’s see if they continue this in the long term.