As promised, a rambling exploration of the Sabres’ performance in special teams situations.
PP: Ranked 17th, 17.6%. The Sabres scored 55 total goals in man advantage situations (49 5 on 4, 3 at 5 on 3, 3 at 4 on 3). It’s interesting to note that at home, they were quite good (21.2%, 34G), but horrific on the road (13.7%, wow).
It was no secret throughout the year that the power play was struggling, which carried over into their dismal performance in the playoffs. When you consider that Vanek (10 PPG) and Hecht (3 PPG) missed most or all of the Boston series, it was that much worse. At various points, they had issues getting pucks in deep and getting established positions, which is why the elusive ‘puck moving/power play quarterback type defenseman’ was a deadline target, and probably remains one this offseason. On the positive side, Tyler Myers was a solid addition on the power play, with his willingness to shoot early and often helping things quite a bit. Several of his goals were just ‘screw it, I’m shooting’ plays that found their way through.
PK: Ranked 2nd, 86.6%. For the record, Buffalo took 333 minors (less than 20 other teams), 28 majors, 6 misconducts, 3 game misconducts. There were 8 bench minors. They were tops in the league at home, killing 89.8% there, while clicking along at 84% on the road (still a solid 6th place). Total allowed power play goals was 38, one more than Boston, the best team in that regard.
Night and day difference, eh? Tyler Myers and Henrik Tallinder lead from the rear here, average just over 3 minutes of short-handed time per game, with Jochen Hecht (that name again) and Mike Grier taking charge from a forward perspective. I have no complaints here, the team was great at keeping opponents around the edges and clearing the puck, for the most part.