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Sabres dial too many wrong numbers in season to forget


Of all the numbers amassed by the Buffalo Sabres, seven sticks out the most. It's the number of seasons without a playoff appearance.

To put the drought in perspective, consider the previous record was three years. That skid was from 2002 to 2004, when owner John Rigas was on his way to jail and the franchise was bankrupt. Despite Terry Pegula's wealth, the Sabres are bankrupt again.

This time, instead of lacking money, they lack desire, consistency and passion.

The Sabres also lacked impressive stats. Here is a by-the-numbers look at the forgettable 2017-18 season.

Minus-81: Buffalo's NHL-worst goal differential. The Sabres scored 199 goals and allowed 280.

Minus-48: The Sabres' goal differential at home. They scored 91 and allowed 139.

Minus-34: The plus/minus ratio for Kyle Okposo. The right winger had the second-worst number in the league, trailing only the minus-42 for New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy.

Sabres center Johan Larsson tied for sixth from the bottom at minus-30.

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Minus-5.4: The percentage drop for the Sabres' power-play unit. Buffalo led the NHL with a 24.5 percent success rate last season, scoring 57 times on 233 attempts. Buffalo tied for 21st at 19.1 percent this year, scoring 49 times on 257 attempts.

Minus-.012: The drop in goaltender Robin Lehner's save percentage. He finished with a .908 after putting up a .920 last season.

.111: Buffalo's league-worst winning percentage when the opponent scored first. Buffalo was 5-36-4.

.324: The Sabres' winning percentage in one-goal games. Only Detroit (.270) was worse.

.891: Chad Johnson's save percentage, ahead of only the .888 for Carolina's Scott Darling.

.896: The Sabres' team save percentage, ahead of only Carolina (.893) and Ottawa (.895).

1: Since 1994, only one Sabres goalie had a goals-against average above 3.00 (Jhonas Enroth, 3.27 in 2014-15). Both Johnson (3.55) and Lehner (3.01) were above the mark this season.

Lehner had a record of 14-26-9. Johnson was 10-17-3.

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2: Buffalo had two players score shootout goals. Jacob Josefson scored twice on three attempts. Sam Reinhart went 1 for 3. Ryan O'Reilly and Jason Pominville were 0 for 2, while Benoit Pouliot was 0 for 1.

The Sabres tied for the fewest shootout appearances with three, finishing 1-2.

3: The number of players to finish with a positive plus/minus. Center Casey Mittelstadt, defenseman Zach Redmond and forward Danny O'Regan were plus-1.

3.35: Buffalo's goals-against average. Only the Islanders (3.53) and Ottawa (3.42) were worse.

6: The number of years between hat tricks at home. Thomas Vanek scored three times April 5, 2011. Center Jack Eichel ended the drought with three goals against Carolina on Dec. 15, 2017.

7: Eichel had a seven-game point streak in January, the team's longest.

9: The Sabres tied for sixth in the NHL with nine short-handed goals. Left wing Evander Kane, sent to San Jose at the trade deadline, scored a team-high three.

10: The Sabres allowed 10 short-handed goals. Only Colorado (13) and the Islanders (11) gave up more.

11: Buffalo won just 11 home games, tied for the fewest in franchise history with the 1971-72 edition. The Sabres were 11-25-4 in KeyBank Center.

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15: O'Reilly led the Sabres with 15 power-play goals, trailing only Winnipeg's Patrik Laine (20) and Washington's Alex Ovechkin (17). O'Reilly totaled 24 goals for the season.

15.7: Pouliot's team-high shooting percentage. He scored 13 goals on 83 shots.

18.5: The Sabres have an 18.5 percent chance of winning the first overall pick in the NHL Draft Lottery on April 28.

23: The number of losses by three goals or more, tied for the most with Vancouver and Ottawa.

25: Eichel and Reinhart tied for the team lead with 25 goals, finishing in a tie for 59th overall. Both players set career highs. The Sabres had two 25-goal scorers under age 23 for the first time since the 1991-92 season (Alexander Mogilny, Donald Audette).

26:29: Average ice time for defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, who led the Sabres and ranked fourth in the NHL behind Los Angeles' Drew Doughty (26:50), Minnesota's Ryan Suter (26:46) and Ottawa's Erik Karlsson (26:44).

31: The Sabres became the first team in NHL history to finish 31st. The league expanded this season with the Vegas Golden Knights.

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39: Eichel's team-high assist total, which tied for 62nd in the NHL.

45: Number of regulation losses for the Sabres. Only the 2013-14 and 2014-15 teams had more with 51 each.

46: The number of first-period goals by Buffalo, which ranked last. Winnipeg was first with 92, double the Sabres' total.

62: The Sabres' NHL-worst point total from their 25-45-12 record. Ottawa finished 30th with 67 points.

64: Eichel led the Sabres and set a career high with 64 points. Accomplished in 67 games, he was 29th in the NHL at 0.96 points per game.

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69: Forward Jordan Nolan's team-high penalty minutes.

82: Marco Scandella, Pominville and Reinhart were the only players to appear in all 82 games.

114: Scandella led the Sabres with 114 blocked shots. Edmonton defenseman Kris Russell was first in the NHL with 223.

119: Number of goals scored at five-on-five, worst in the NHL. Montreal was next at 130.

199: The Sabres' league-low goal total. Arizona was 30th with 208. Tampa Bay was first with 296.

246: Eichel's team-high shot total, an average of 3.7 per game.

1,274: O'Reilly set the NHL record for faceoff wins, passing the 1,268 victories by Carolina's Rod Brind'Amour in 2005-06. O'Reilly tied Arizona's Antoine Vermette for the league lead by winning 60 percent of his faceoffs.

17,982: The average number of tickets sold for the 40 games played in Buffalo. It was the Sabres' lowest announced attendance since 2005-06, when the average was 16,886.

How do you sell Sabres tickets that no one wants? You don't.

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