Just like last season, the Buffalo Sabres have jumped out to an early lead in the win-loss column. Through Monday’s action, their 20 points and nine wins lead the National Hockey League. And for the most part, they have looked the part of an improved team.
There has probably only been one game in which the Sabres have been outclassed, and that came Monday night against the Arizona Coyotes. The Sabres did steal a point, but they were outshot, 44-26, and out-chanced, 17-10, in all situations on home ice. (That said, Arizona looks really good this year – it’s likely that this will end up being a “quality loss,” so to speak.)
One of the noticeable things from Monday night’s game was that the depth issues that have paralyzed this team for a couple of years now reared its ugly head. Outside of the Jack Eichel line and the Colin Miller pairing, most Sabres skaters looked like they were skating in concrete. That was most noticeable with Buffalo’s bottom six, where the Girgensons-Larsson-Okposo and Sheary-Mittelstadt-Rodrigues lines took turns treading water in the defensive zone. Consider just the shot and scoring chance shares for the four Buffalo centers.