The Buffalo Sabres were considered to be a near lock to make the playoffs when the NHL betting season began but after a solid start they have been in a free fall since November 19th in which they have lost 22 out of 29 games that included 8 losses in 9 games since January 6th.
With United States Olympic hero Ryan Miller as their number one goaltender it was figured in betting circles that such a slump was impossible but that obviously has not proven to be the case as the Sabres will need to play at a much higher clip in order to salvage a playoff spot.
Miller has been a big part of the problem rather than a solution with a record of 11-15-2 and a mediocre save percentage of .897. To be sure, Miller has not gotten quality support up front with either the scoring attack or his defensemen but such a save percentage is quite revealing as far as his drop in quality play and dominance. Miller was a near one man team in the past for the Sabres and able to dominate games single handedly but now Buffalo is going to have to rally around more of a team concept if they are to save their season.
Buffalo has been awful in nearly every aspect of the game as they rank 26th in goal scoring, 27th in goals against, and 21st in penalty killing. Buffalo was just 11-9-3-2 at home and a horrible 8-15 on the road, where teams with quality goaltending can often steal wins.
Unlike the hometown NFL team Buffalo Bills that got off to shockingly good start after low expectations only to collapse, big things were expected of the Sabres heading into the season. This has served to turn off and anger an already disillusioned fan base that has dealt with the inferiority complex that comes naturally as part of life in Buffalo.
The late rally of last year when Terry Pegula took over as owner is now long forgotten as the long winter and freefall of the Sabres as served to be the worst possible combination. Buffalo has shown little sign of getting better and putting together a rally to save the season. The heat has intensified on general manager Darcy Regier and head coach Lindy Ruff, who has one of the longest tenures in the league but also has a team that looks to have tuned him out this season.