Zach Bogosian scored his first goal Saturday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Depleted Sabres defense thrives

BUFFALO – In 25 years as a professional coach and player, coach Dan Bylsma said he had never seen it before. In Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win in Montreal, the Sabres dressed five right-handed defensemen.

“Kind of an odd situation,” Bylsma said Monday inside HarborCenter after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s road tilt against the Nashville Predators.

Unlike other sports, lefties are more plentiful in hockey. According to the New York Daily News, a whopping 62 ... Read the full article

Dmitry Kulikov writhes in pain after getting hit Sept. 30. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Dmitry Kulikov close to playing

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, out the last 12 games with a lower-back bruise, practiced this morning and could return this week, coach Dan Bylsma said.

“See how he responds to that,” Bylsma said inside HarborCenter. “But it bodes well for him seeing some time this week.”

Kulikov, 26, has been dogged by the injury all season after getting knocked into an open bench door Sept. 30, his preseason debut.

The Russian has ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly buoyed the Sabres late Friday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ryan O’Reilly helps push Sabres past Red Wings in OT

BUFFALO – With just over four minutes left in regulation Friday and the Sabres trailing 2-1, Ryan O’Reilly zoomed down the right wall hellbent on grabbing the puck from Danny DeKeyser deep in the Detroit zone.

O’Reilly eventually twisted DeKeyser around, grabbed the puck and skated behind the net, where he zeroed in on linemate Kyle Okposo in front.

But the rest of the Red Wings hadn’t caught up, so a surprised O’Reilly skated out ... Read the full article

Nick Deslauriers has zero points in 22 games this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Nick Deslauriers seeing less action

BUFFALO – Chat with Nick Deslauriers for a few minutes, and if the subject turns to fighting, the affable Sabres winger usually perks up.

Deslauriers, 25, relishes his job as the Sabres’ chief protector. In his 196-game NHL career, he has 15 fights and 12 goals.

“That’s what I want to bring, just safety for all the guys that are on the ice with me,” Deslauriers said Friday prior to being scratched for the Sabres’ ... Read the full article

Anders Nilsson (31) tries to make a stop Dec. 6. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson to start against Red Wings

BUFFALO – Sabres coach Dan Bylsma has no explanation for goalie Anders Nilsson’s wild home and road splits.

Consider the statistics Nilsson, who will start tonight against the Detroit Red Wings, has accumulated in 17 games: on the road, he’s just 2-5-3 with a 3.11 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage in nine outings. At KeyBank Center, however, he’s 5-1-1 with a 1.84 and a .947 in seven contests.

“They can be misleading and ... Read the full article

Evander Kane broke four ribs opening night. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Evander Kane one of NHL’s hottest scorers

BUFFALO – Looking back, Sabres winger Evander Kane acknowledges that, yes, he probably rushed back to the lineup after breaking four ribs opening night.

Following an 11-game absence over three weeks, Kane returned and generated almost nothing. Seven weeks ago, he was one of the NHL’s biggest disappointments, still goalless in 12 appearances as the calendar turned to December.

But these days, Kane is scorching, having scored 12 times in the last 21 games ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner (40) tries to stop Winnipeg's Drew Stafford on Jan. 7. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner defends wave: ‘I don’t care what anyone thinks’

BUFFALO – Before Robin Lehner threw a fit after getting yanked from Tuesday’s 4-3 loss in Toronto, the fiery Sabres goalie skated to bench during a break and waved to a child whose mother was sitting in the first row and face-timing with her son at home.

Not long after that, Lehner was back at the bench erupting after allowing three goals in less than 10 minutes.

Some, of course, will say Lehner’s wave as ... Read the full article

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner tracks the puck in front of Toronto's Auston Matthews on Tuesday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner pulled in loss to Maple Leafs

TORONTO – Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner was livid, looking for someone or something to take his anger out on following a wretched 10-minute stretch.

So after getting yanked from Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Swede yelled at his own bench as he skated off the ice. Lehner then slammed his mask to the ground, looked down the bench and threw his glove off.

The Sabres have a lot of demoralizing ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (left) battles Auston Matthews on Tuesday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Maple Leafs have improved faster than Sabres

TORONTO – The Maple Leafs, like the Buffalo Sabres of a year ago, had to improve this season because 30th place was no longer their target.

After bottoming out on purpose, the Leafs added first overall pick Auston Matthews to their large stable of young talent. They also have Mike Babcock, arguably the NHL’s best coach.

Few, however, expected the upstart Leafs would be this good this soon. After Tuesday’s Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the ... Read the full article

Taylor Fedun has scored two NHL goals. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Taylor Fedun waiting for another goal

TORONTO – On a delayed penalty early in Monday afternoon’s 4-1 win, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Taylor Fedun thought he had scored his third NHL goal.

The puck went in the net, the horn sounded and the crowd cheered. The officials, however, had blown the play dead when Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen made a quick save.

No goal.

“I thought it was just a rebound off the goalie,” Fedun said this afternoon inside the Air ... Read the full article