2018-19 collapse impacting excitement?

October 10, 2019

The Buffalo Sabres are off to their best start since the 2009-10 season after a 5-4 overtime win against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night at KeyBank Center. Buffalo has gotten seven of a possible eight points with their 3-0-1. 

The fast start, along with the 50th anniversary celebrations, there is a refreshing excitement around the Sabres to start off the season. But how strong is that excitement? 

Early on in the 2018-19 season, Buffalo went on a 10-game win streak that created a similar buzz. A collapse of sorts ensued, and the Sabres missed the playoffs by a large margin, despite once being seen as a shoe-in. 

Just a year removed, is that collapse holding back fans from getting too excited about the early success this year?

We asked Sabres fans during Wednesday night's late night discussion:


Can't buy in just yet?:

Yes. But maybe Krueger better equipped.

— Peter Kress (@kresser) October 10, 2019

Yes a bit for sure. I remember last year hearing it would be hard for us to miss the playoffs at one point and then we end up finishing as one of the worst. However this year's team does seem different and more confident. Playing faster, thinking less and having more fun.

— Chris Reardon (@ReardonChris) October 10, 2019

10/10 yes. Analytics of 5 on 5 are good but the only metric I care about is goals for and they’re being carried by the PP right now. And they’re producing at a rate that is just simply not maintainable.

— Nicole Faulise (@NicFaulise) October 10, 2019

Yes, because of the PP goals. Would like to see more even-strength goals. That would be a better sign of sustainability.

— Dan Cycon (@hikerdan81) October 10, 2019

Many fans are skeptical, but not to the point of holding no optimistic sentiment. The lack of 5-on-5 goals is a concern for a lot of contributors. 


New year, new team:

No. Different players better players, coaching style is alot different.

— Enzos Father (@SabresBills0507) October 10, 2019

No. There’s more to this start. 5 on 5 analytics been in their favor in all but one game, talent level is unquestionably higher this season, and you can just sense the poise in their play, even when things get crazy. It’s different.

— -------- ⎈ (@sharpndpensel) October 10, 2019

For all the good and bad so far, if you look the Sabres only outshot their opponents twice during that streak last year. Three times in four games alone this year. The team just has to clean up the mistakes that leads to the back of the net and plagues them.

— Eric Bartelt (@bartelt_eric72) October 10, 2019

A new head coach, new players, a lot of fans didn't want to connect the two situations. 


Author's choice:

Being just a year removed from the collapse, of course, has some sort of impact on the excitement level this year. However, context is key. Looking into both situations, the current success seems far more sustainable than last year's 10-game winning streak. The majority of those wins in 2018 came in shootouts, which was a sign in its own right. 

The power play has carried the majority of the scoring, but the even strength play is night and day compared to last year. The Sabres have moved the puck much better, especially on the defensive side. Adding the likes of Collin Miller and Henri Jokiharju has been important for that improvement. 

It should get even better with the return of a defenseman like Brandon Montour, who is currently out with a hand injury.

Things just feel more collected this season. More in control. Proceed with caution, as there are still 78 games, but it is ok to feel a little excited right now. 


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