Sabres Lack Offense In Return To Play
The Buffalo Sabres struggles continued as they retuned to play facing the New York Islanders on back to back nights. The team had little to no success losing 3-1 and 3-0 to the Islanders. The lack of offense was the highlight of the series as the Sabres struggled after their return to play. In the first contest, the Sabres recorded zero shots on goal in the final period. Offensive production has become an unexpected concern thus far in the shortened season. Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall and Jeff Skinner among others have not been able to produce leading to the major lack in offense.
Victor Olofsson leads the team in scoring with five goals in 12 games. However, four of those five goal were scored with a man advantage. This seems to be a large contributor to the teams lack of offense. Through 12 games the team has only scored 15 even strength goals.
Covid-19 Effects Continue to Linger
As the majority of Sabres players become eligible to play, not all are physically ready. A big absence from the Sabres line up has been Rasmus Ristolainen. The 6-foot-4 defenseman is a crucial part of the Sabres line up and regularly plays 20 plus minutes night for Buffalo. In addition, Brandon Montour has been absent from the line up leaving the team short staffed on the back end.
Without two of their top six defenseman, the Sabres struggled to move pucks cleanly against the Islanders. As the remaining absentees return to the ice, expect the Sabres to find answers offensively. The Islanders are known for their defensive style of play. As a result, the inability to quickly breakout of the defensive zone was a direct factor in Buffalo’s lack of offense. Montour will play in the Sabres next contest against the Washington Captials. However, Ristolainen is not expected to make the trip to the capital city as he continues to recover from his battle with Covid-19.
Buffalo Sabres Vs Washington Capitals
The Sabres next contest is Thursday night against the Washington Capitals. This is the fifth meeting between the two teams already this season. The Sabres are 1-3-0 against the Capitals this season. In addition, the team will take on the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, February 20. This will be the Devils third game back from their Covid related pause. The last time these two teams met was January 30 and was the source of both teams Covid-19 outbreaks.
In that contest, the Devils defeated the Sabres 5-3. One glimpse of hope going into this matchup is that the Sabres have had offensive success against the Devils. Furthermore, a win against the Devils is crucial if the Sabres intend to climb out of the basement of the East division. The Devils sit at 12 points with ten games played whereas the Sabres sit at ten points in 12 games played.
“From Our Haus to Yours“