Another game in the books and the Sabres troubles in their own end continue to haunt the 1-3 squad. The Sabres fell to the Panthers 3-2 on Thursday night and although the loss could come from going 1-6 on the power play, I believe that the losses continue because of the struggles on the penalty kill.
Throughout the course of the 5 games, the Sabres have been on the penalty kill 11 times and have given up 4 goals. Buffalo is 29th in the NHL with a 63.6% on the penalty kill. What is causing this problem exactly?
The first issue with the penalty kill is the goalie. Chad Johnson has played poorly in his four starts. Again against the Panthers he had horrible rebound control and was out of position on too many occasions.
It seems that Johnson has struggled to clearly see every shot, perhaps that has to do with the defense but sometimes your going to have to rely on your goalie to steal a game or even take over a penalty kill.
The defense hasn't given Johnson much help in all honesty. On Jagr's second goal, Josh Gorges had an opportunity to step up on the play and poke the puck away from the 43 year old wonder but fell back on the play only to watch Jagr burry the shot into the top corner.
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The Panthers on a number of occasions managed to split through multiple defenders without any punishment. The defense has not played physical enough and give the opposing forwards way too much space.
The offense hasn't been great by any stretch. They have had a lot of missed opportunities but that will change as the new forwards learn to grow with each other. As for the defense and goalie, health is a major factor to improve. If the Sabres can get Zach Bogosian back that will help a great deal.
Getting Lehner back will help too but the goalie is out a few months. Can the Sabres last a few months with Chad Johnson? Not likely.