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Buffalo Sabres’ Confidence Seems to Be an Issue as Downfall Continues

December 6th, 2013 at 9:00 AM
By Paul Lane Sabres 101

The "C" word was bandied about in the Buffalo Sabres locker room quite a lot after Thursday night's loss to the New York Rangers.

Some players said it was to blame for the lack of quality shots. Others said it was why a handful of ill-advised mistakes did the team in. Yet others said it's why their teammates did not capitalize on scoring chances.

Whatever the case, a lack of confidence amongst the team is apparent.

'Ryan Miller' photo (c) 2011, grilled cheese - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Coming off a four-day hiatus, the Sabres seemed poised to pounce upon New York. The Sabres ran through a mini-camp of sorts during their time off, with many saying those were the best practices they've had all year.

Buffalo didn't look horrendous in the first period Thursday, but it hardly pounced either. New York outshot Buffalo 9-7 and got the only goal of the opening 20 minutes.

"That's stuff between the ears," goalie Ryan Miller said. "We were afraid of being burned. We've got to shake it off at some point."

Tyler Ennis said the problem is simple:

"I think it's a confidence thing for some people … you're not going to score a lot when you're getting 20 shots a game."

Buffalo actually got 28 shots Thursday, one of its better outputs of the season. Yet Henrik Lundqvist was only beaten once by Buffalo. Matt Moulson stopped short of expressing outrage at the lack of production:

"I wouldn't use the word frustrating. You have to keep working."

Coach Ted Nolan agreed, adding a full 60 minutes of work has been lacking most of the year:

"It's about consistency. Sometimes we have it. Sometimes we don't."

At 6-21-2, the Sabres honestly have good reason to lack for confidence. And given the offensive offense, it's little wonder Ville Leino would opt to pass from the center slot in front of Lundqvist like he did Thursday, or that Matt D'Agostini would not pull the trigger from the faceoff circle.

But Nolan said the players have to overcome if they want to avoid 53 more games like the first 29:

"We've just got to find the right formula to get the whole thing right."

 

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Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, NHL

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