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Buffalo Sabres Missing Secondary Scoring in Early Season Struggles

February 4th, 2013 at 10:48 AM
By Anthony Custode Jr

When the Buffalo Sabres traded for Cody Hodgson, there was a feel that he could compliment Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville.

'Budaj_Save.jpg' photo (c) 2008, Joshua Lawton - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Now that he has, the next question is where the rest of the scoring will come from. Vanek, Pominville and Hodgson have scored a combined 18 goals out of the 27 the team has compiled. That's 66 percent of Buffalo's offense on one line. The nine other goals are disbursed among seven other Sabres, and only two (Alexander Sulzer and Tyler Ennis), have more than one goal on the year. 

"It's got to go, because I don't think Thomas (Vanek) can keep up this pace," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "That line has really played well, they've got great chemistry, played well, made great plays. But we do need other people to get on the scoreboard."

 If the Sabres could find a way to get scoring from their other lines, they would be a dangerous, potent, offensive team. Vanek leads the league in points with 19 and assists with 11. His eight goals are second to Patrick Marleau's nine.Yet, with all of his production, Buffalo finds itself dead last in the division and out of a playoff spot, and with the shortened season, the Sabres can ill afford to wait much longer to start winning games. 

Last night's performance against the Florida Panthers shows just how far the team is from being excellent. Vanek and Hodgson both had three points, but Buffalo was unable to get scoring from their other lines. Although the chances were there.

"You look at Ennis going in alone, you've got the two great chances by (Mikhail) Grigorenko, one driving the net where he just misses it and the one that's point-blank. You have Marcus Foligno that was point-blank. Jochen Hecht had a couple of great opportunities," Ruff reflected after the loss to the Panthers

The Sabres will hope to break out of their funk tomorrow with a game against the Ottawa Senators. The puck is set to drop at 7:30 and the game could be a defining moment in the season after dropping six of their last seven games. 

Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, NHL

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