Team Recap: 23rd-Seeded ’79-’80 Buffalo Sabres

The 23rd seed in the inaugural Ultimate NHL Playoff, the '79-'80 Buffalo Sabres.

The 23rd seed in the inaugural Ultimate NHL Playoff, the ’79-’80 Buffalo Sabres.

  • Rick Dudley (LW)
    • 19 GP   0 G   0 A   0 P   Even   3 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Richie Dunn (D)
    • 24 GP   4 G   14 A   18 P   +17   74 S   2 GWG   12 PIM   7 Stars
  • Don Edwards (G)
    • 24 GP   19-3-1   2.46 GAA   .900 SV%   0 SO   7 Stars
  • Danny Gare (RW)
    • 24 GP   15 G   24 A   39 P   +23   142 S   1 GWG   8 PIM   18 Stars
  • John Gould (RW)
    • 24 GP   0 G   4 A   4 P   Even   25 S   0 GWG   2 PIM   0 Stars
  • Bill Hajt (D)
    • 24 GP   1 G   6 A   7 P   +15   24 S   0 GWG   4 PIM   0 Stars
  • Jerry Korab (D)
    • 19 GP   0 G   0 A   0 P   Even   2 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Don Luce (D)
    • 1 GP   0 G   0 A   0 P   Even   0 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Rick Martin (LW)
    • 24 GP   12 G   14 A   26 P   +22   81 S   1 GWG   4 PIM   8 Stars
  • Rob McClanahan (C)
    • 24 GP   0 G   4 A   4 P   +1   22 S   0 GWG   2 PIM   0 Stars
  • Tony McKegney (LW)
    • 24 GP   13 G   3 A   16 P   -1   69 S   3 GWG   2 PIM   5 Stars
  • Gilbert Perreault (C)
    • 24 GP   20 G   15 A   35 P   +23   124 S   4 GWG   8 PIM   16 Stars
  • Larry Playfair (D)
    • 24 GP   0 G   7 A   7 P   +15   15 S   0 GWG   10 PIM   2 Stars
  • Craig Ramsay (LW)
    • 24 GP   9 G   7 A   16 P   +23   55 S   5 GWG*   0 PIM   2 Stars
  • Mike Ramsey (D)
    • 19 GP   0 G   0 A   0 P   Even   1 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Lindy Ruff (D)
    • 20 GP   0 G   1 A    1 P   Even   3 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Bob Sauve (G)
    • 1 GP   0-0-1   1.00   .875 SV%   0 SO   0 Stars
  • Andre Savard (C)
    • 19 GP   0 G   0 A   0 P   Even   0 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Jim Schoenfeld (D)
    • 24 GP   3 G   16 A   19 P   +14   63 S   0 GWG   12 PIM   5 Stars
  • Dave Schultz (LW)
    • 24 GP   0 G   2 A   2 P   +5   1 S   0 GWG   4 PIM   0 Stars
  • Ric Seiling (RW)
    • 24 GP   7 G   21 A   28 P   +23   67 S   1 GWG   6 PIM   10 Stars
  • Derek Smith (C)
    • 24 GP   14 G   7 A   21 P   +22   66 S   1 GWG   0 PIM   9 Stars
  • John Van Boxmeer (D)
    • 24 GP   8 G   27 A   35 P   +31   125 S   1 GWG   12 PIM   10 Stars

Bold – Team Best

* – Tournament Best

Team Stats:

  • Record: 19-3-2
  • Goals Scored: 106
  • Goals/Game: 4.42
  • Goals Allowed: 60
  • Goals Allowed/Game: 2.50
  • Shots: 971
  • Shots Allowed: 596
  • Shots/Game: 40.5
  • Shots Allowed/Game: 24.8
  • # of PP’s: 49
  • PPG’s: 7
  • PP%: 14.3%
  • TSH: 35
  • PPGA: 7
  • PK%: 80.0%
  • Penalties in minutes: 62

To say that I underestimated this team is an understatement. This team made an incredible run in the tournament that I was not expecting. At least twice, I thought this team would be eliminated and they wound up not losing a game until the Quarterfinals. However, they lasted all the way to the Semifinals and put up some incredible numbers while doing it.

1st Round:

Swept 42nd-seeded ’25-’26 Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-0

2nd Round:

Swept 10th-seeded ’12-’13 Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-0

3rd Round:

Swept 39th-seeded ’78-’79 Atlanta Flames, 4-0

Quarterfinals:

Defeated 18th-seeded ’06-’07 Anaheim Ducks, 4-1

Semifinals:

Lost to 19th-seeded ’88-’89 Calgary Flames, 4-3, after being down 3-0 in the series

The ’79-’80 Buffalo Sabres posted a record of 47-17-16, which was good for 110 points and 1st in the Adams Division, under legendary head coach Scotty Bowman. This was Bowman’s first of six plus years at the reigns of the Sabres. Buffalo was ranked 3rd out of 21 teams in goals for with 318 and 1st in goals against with 201. Hockey Reference ranked Buffalo’s strength of schedule dead last in the league, but their SRS rating system had Buffalo as the best team in the league that year. However, much like the previous two seeds, postseason success has never come to fruition for this franchise. The ’79-’80 Sabres blew through the first two rounds. They defeated the Vancouver Canucks in four games in the Preliminary Round and then swept the Chicago Black Hawks in the Quarterfinals. However, in the Semifinals, they went up against the New York Islanders and fell in six games. Unfortunately for the Sabres, they faced the Islanders right at the beginning of their dynasty.

This was the first season after the disbanding of the French Connection line, but the Sabres still were an offensive powerhouse. Gilbert Perreault posted 106 points, which is the second highest total of his career, and a team high. Of course, second and third on the team in points, belonged to his linemates. Danny Gare was second with 89 and Rick Martin was third with 79. Gare was also the league’s leading goal scorer with 56. Martin was second on the team with 45 and Perreault was third with 40. Perreault posted a team-high 66 assists while defenseman John Van Boxmeer was second on the team with 40. Van Boxmeer was awarded the Norris Trophy for best defenseman in the inaugural Ultimate NHL Playoff. Forwards Derek Smith and Craig Ramsay were tied for third on the team with 39. Defenseman Jim Schoenfeld posted the highest plus/minus rating on the team at +60 and Gare was second with a +49 rating. Van Boxmeer and winger Tony McKegney were tied for third with a plus/minus rating of +40. Goaltending was almost completely split between Don Edwards and Bob Sauve. Edwards posted a 2.57 goals agains average over 49 games played with two shutouts and Sauve posted a 2.36 goals against average over 32 games played with four shutouts. Sauve’s GAA was the lowest in the league that year and he eventually became the starter during the team’s playoff run.

Up next is the #24 seed, the ’07-’08 Florida Panthers!

This entry was posted in Offseason, Ultimate NHL Playoff and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s