The Buffalo Sabres keep finding ways to reach new lows.
On Friday night they were on the losing end of a 4-0 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins, losing for the 10th time in their past 11 games.
The overall numbers for the season are, to say the least, ugly.
- They remain tied with the Arizona Coyotes for the worst record in the league, and given the way Arizona is starting to play a little better they may not be tied for much longer.
- They are still the lowest scoring team in the league.
- They have yet to receive a goal from a defenseman. Any defenseman. Twenty-six game sinto the season.
Friday’s loss also marked the third consecutive game that they were shut out.
This one was particularly ugly.
Not only were they shutout by a rookie goalie making just his fifth NHL start, they really did not pose a significant threat at any point during the game.
Their power play, entering the night ranked 30th in the NHL and only outscoring the opposing penalty kills by a 9-7 margin on the season, looked especially anemic and spent most of the night getting booed by an increasingly angry and frustrated crowd.
Coach Phil Housley called the way his team executed the gameplan on Friday night “embarrassing.”
What has to be especially concerning for the Sabres is that the start to this season is making it pretty clear that they are going to take another step backwards in their overall rebuild. The arrival of Jack Eichel, as well as the additions of players like Evander Kane, Ryan O'Reilly, Kyle Okposo, and Robin Lehner over the past few years were supposed to be a turning point. They were supposed to get the organization going back into a more successful direction and make them a playoff contender again.
Instead, the team regressed across the board a season ago and seems to be taking an even bigger step in the wrong direction this season.
After Friday’s loss the Sabres have won just six of their first 26 games.
Just look at how that start compares to the past five years.
2013-14: 5-20-1 (11 points)
2014-15: 9-15-2 (20 points)
2015-16: 11-12-3 (25 points)
2016-17: 10-10-6 (26 points)
2017-18: 6-15-4 (16 points)
This start this season, more than a quarter of the way through it, is right on par with what they were doing when the team was in full-on tank mode. This team is not built to tank. This team has big-money veterans. It has a potential superstar and franchise building block in Eichel.
It should not be this bad.
It also does not seem that things are on the verge of getting much better, especially with a brutal schedule in December.