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Buffalo Sabres Look to Combine Quality, Quantity in Shots on Goal

December 6th, 2013 at 2:00 PM
By Paul Lane Sabres 101

The Buffalo Sabres had the right theory in mind Thursday night against the New York Rangers. They just didn't execute it quite as well as they should have.

Buffalo fired 28 shots on goal in Thursday's loss to the Rangers. The Blueshirts also blocked 16 shots, while numerous Buffalo scoring chances went for naught after one pass too many.

'New York Islanders vs. New Jersey Devils - April 10, 2010' photo (c) 2010, Doug Kerr - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

So the Sabres are getting the puck toward the net – something that's been lacking much of the year. Indeed, Buffalo's only had 13 multi-goal games compared to five opponent shutouts. The Sabres are last in both shots on goal per game and shooting percentage in the NHL.

The next step, players say, is to get better chances to score.

"We got too fancy," said Tyler Myers of Thursday's effort, which included a short-handed two-on-one in which Marcus Foligno tried to thread an ill-advised pass to Steve Ott rather than taking a clean shot on goal. "We had a tough time getting pucks through, that's for sure."

Matt Moulson feels the Sabres are getting better, in spite of their last-place record and anemic offense (1.6 goals per game). While the results aren't there, he said the effort surely is:

"We obviously are working hard. It's a matter now of working hard and smart."

Tyler Ennis said Buffalo's goal is to get 30 shots on goal per game, something it's done only six times through 29 games in 2013-14. But those shots can't just be for the sake of shooting, he cautioned:

"We just have to be a little more patient. We have to shoot more, but we have to have the mindset to be a little smarter with it, too."

The effort has been improved since Ted Nolan took over as interim coach, but the goal output has not been. The Sabres only have 13 goals in the nine games he's coached. He said it's on the people in Buffalo's locker room to find a way out of the team's funk:

"There's no one who's going to ride in here and fix it for us. We've got to fix it ourselves."

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Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, NHL

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