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Looking at the Buffalo Sabres

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This is another new feature I want to start doing (time permitting with my schedule) on the day before the game or the morning of a game. We'll see what type of response it gets and if you guys like it, we'll keep doing it. Pretty much it's going to be a stat-based looking at the opponent as well as one or two opinions.

Category Stat NHL Rank
Goals per game 1.33 30th
Goals Against per game 1.00 1st
Power-play 11.1 % 28th
Penalty kill 90% 4th
Shots per game 38.7 1st
Shots against per game 22.0 1st
Faceoff percentage 42.8 28th
PIM per game 11.0 8th
PP drawn 18 26th
Leading... Stat Player
Scorer 1 G,1 A Clarke MacArthur
+/- +1 4 tied
Hits 6 3 tied
PIM 6 Paul Gaustad
Shots 12 Drew Stafford
Blocked Shots 4 Chris Butler
Faceoffs 58.3% Paul Gaustad
Wins 2 Ryan Miller
GAA .98 Ryan Miller

Granted, these stats are going to be a little skewed because the youth of the season thus far but some of them are still impressive, such as Ryan Miller's .98 goals against average. Another stat this is impressive is the shots per game and the shots allowed per game. Should be interesting to see how often the Wings are able to make Ryan Miller work and how much off time they can give Osgood.

Thomas Vanek is a pretty impressive playmaker on offense and could create some trouble in the defensive zone for Detroit. He's got two great line-mates in Derek Roy and Drew Stafford that are just as much of a threat as him. I think the Wings could have success defending this line with the new line that Babcock has created with Bertuzzi, Zetterberg, and Datsyuk. Put Nick Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski on the ice too and that's an almost impossible five to score on.

Players to watch on offense: Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy, and Drew Stafford

Players to watch on defense: Tyler Myers (6'8", 222 lbs!), Craig Rivet

As the season goes on, I'll add some more structure to this feature. Right now it's hard to do all that much analyzing of a team that has only played 3 games.