19 April 2007

Sabres defensive statistics

Another tight one on the island last night, and the Buffalo fan in me couldn't believe that the late 3rd period review didn't give the goal to the Islanders. Logically they couldn't give them the goal because of the way it was called on the ice (no goal) and there seemed to be no conclusive evidence otherwise. However...that looked like a goal to me. And that's two reviews that have gone Buffalo's way this series. Amazing how for so many years Sabres' fans went through a crisis every time there was an official's call, just *knowing* it would go against the team - seems quite the reverse of late.

This is reminiscent of the great Bills teams in the late 80s-early 90s when, after years of getting the shaft on calls especially against Don Shula's hated Dolphins teams, seemingly overnight the Bills were getting the better of the officials, much to the chagrin of a certain Isotoner Whiner. I suppose if there's anything scientific to take away from this is that the better teams get the calls due either to perception or simply that they're just better.

Dainius Zubrus has quite literally been getting better each game. At his best he'd never be a high-scoring forwards but he has a killer combination of hands and ability to protect the puck with his size.

Courtesy of Behind the Net, I've taken a look at the defensive play of the Sabres for this series which should be the most-emphasized positive thus far for Buffalo. While Ryan Miller has come up big when necessary (notably last night), for the most part the Sabres' defence has kept a lot of quality shots away from him. If you were to pick the two most effective Sabres' defenseman thus far, would you pick Brian Campbell and Jaroslav Spacek? Here's why you should: at roughly 57 and 56 minutes of play at even-strength respectively for this series, those two have not been on the ice for even one even-strength goal. Granted, in theory specific matchups will play an overall part in a statistic like this - in just last night's game the pair spent much of their time against Alexei Yashin, Miroslav Satan, Viktor Kozlov - power forwards, they are not. Nevertheless, there is (should be) a lot of skill in that line and to hold them scoreless over four games is highly impressive, and perhaps the top reason the Sabres are on the verge of burying the Islanders.

Sabres' forwards who have contributed to shutting-out the Isles at even-strength thus far are Drew Stafford, Jochen Hecht, Tim Connolly, and Adam Mair. Fourth line indeed.


Rule 69.6… In the event that a goalkeeper has been pushed into the net together with the puch after making a stop, the goal will be disallowed….

In the event that the puck is under a player in or around the crease area (deliberately or otherwise), a goal cannot be scored by pushing this player together with the puck into the goal.

with thanks to SabresReport.com

I still think the odds are that the puck was in before the "push" but there's the official reasoning.

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