The Sabres are struggling on offense

November 13, 2017

Pittsburgh, PA (WGR 550) - The Sabres have played better lately, but it hasn’t always translated into results. Buffalo outplayed the Canadiens in Montreal, but only scored one goal and lost in overtime.

Lately, some of Buffalo’s best players haven’t been producing including Jack Eichel. Eichel hasn’t scored in eight games and he said, “That’s my job, my job is to produce and I haven’t produced in the fashion I would’ve liked in the beginning of the year.”

A few weeks ago, Eichel was in the top 10 of NHL scoring. He said, “It’s a long season and the puck luck and the bounces will start coming around.”

“When you’re playing good and you’re getting your chances, it’s a positive, it’s just those games when you’re feeling it, it’s important to bury your chances.”

Eichel doesn’t think he’s playing poorly, he said it’s just not going in, “Going through that stretch of games where I thought I played well, I was getting a lot of good chances and you’re just not rewarded for it, but so be it. You can’t live in the past in this league, we have a stretch of seven games in 12 days and it could make or break our year.”

Phil Housley thinks the best way to get his star going is to simplify things, “You just have to remind him to play a team game and keep it simple. He’s just trying to do too much, he needs to use his teammates and trusting his teammates and shooting the puck more.”

“I read a stat that if we had 30 shots or more, we’re 5-2-3 and when we don’t get 30 shots, we’re 0-7-0, so what does that tell you? So as a group we need to shoot the puck more and in Jack’s case, he’s got to deliver pucks which will change defenses and it’s going to create offense for us.”

Sam Reinhart hasn’t produced all season long, but I thought in Montreal, he produced more offense than he had all season. Reinhart was put back on the wing with Jack Eichel and Evander Kane. He said, “I really liked our possession through the neutral zone and the opportunities were there, so to get a practice under our belt so we can build with each other, I know I’m excited and I know they’re excited too to get the opportunity.”

“It would be a little tougher if those chances weren’t there because you’d be questioning yourself and doubting yourself, so you can’t afford to do anything else other than to stick with it.”

Reinhart only has two goals and three assists in 17 games. He has gone 10 games without a goal.

The Sabres have had more than one game this year where they played their system, but didn’t get the win. It’s hard to stay positive when those games occur, but Reinhart said, “It’s not easy, but you play 82 games and more times than not, you have another opportunity at it, so we have to move forward and take out as much as we can from the positive.”

We’ve all heard the cliché that when things aren’t going well, players grasp the stick too tightly. Eichel has missed the net a lot lately and the question is, is he holding the stick too tightly? Housley said, “Jack is creating, so I’m not worried about the offensive part, I think he’s doing really good things away from the puck and he’s just got to take what the game gives him, so I don’t know if it’s gripping the stick, he’s trying to do the right things and he means well, he’s just got to continue to work through it.”

Marco Scandella was sick on Monday and told to stay home from practice. Housley said he anticipates Scandella playing in Pittsburgh.

After practice, Justin Bailey was sent back to Rochester.

Housley also said the Alex Nylander has started skating with the team in Rochester.