Alex Iaffalo signed as a free agent with Los Angeles. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Buffalo homecoming special for Eden’s Alex Iafallo

BUFFALO – The bus carrying family and friends from The Towne House, the tavern Alex Iafallo’s parents, Barb and Tom, own and operate in Hamburg, to KeyBank Center on Saturday was missing two notable passengers.

Eden natives Barb and Tom Iafallo.

Instead of watching Alex face the Sabres in his first NHL game in Buffalo, the Iafallos were in Columbus, Ohio, because their daughter, Julianna, a forward on the Ohio State women’s hockey team, was ... Read the full article

Anaheim's Rickard Rakell scores on Robin Lehner on Feb. 6. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner to start against Kings

BUFFALO – Fresh off a strong 33-save effort, Sabres goalie Robin Lehner will start this afternoon’s tilt against the Los Angeles Kings.

Lehner, who struggled in Sunday’s 5-4 loss to Colorado, rebounded nicely in Thursday’s 3-2 overtime loss in Ottawa.

“It’s good to see him bounce back,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said inside KeyBank Center. “In that game, if it wasn’t for Robin, we wouldn’t have been in the game. He made some key saves, ... Read the full article

Jordan Nolan (17) bears down on Montreal's Philip Danault (24) on Oct. 5. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jordan Nolan excited to face Kings again

BUFFALO – Jordan Nolan won two Stanley Cups in Los Angeles, so while the Sabres winger already played against the Kings in October, facing his old team for the second time will still be special.

“I have a lot of friends on that team, that’s where I started my career and we were successful from the start, so you always have that kind of bond no matter where you go,” Nolan, who was claimed on ... Read the full article

Nick Baptiste scored early in Tuesday ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Nick Baptiste embracing fourth-line role

BUFFALO – In the NHL, Sabres winger Nick Baptiste often skates short minutes on the fourth line, a role much different than the one he enjoys in the AHL.

But Baptiste, 22, has embraced his job as a fourth-line checker during his recalls to the Sabres this season, scoring two goals in nine games.... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart (23) celebrates his second-period goal with Evan Rodrigues (71) and Ryan O'Reilly (90) on Tuesday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

All-around effort pushes Sabres past Lightning for rare home win

BUFFALO – In the oddest of Sabres seasons, try figuring this one out: since top center Jack Eichel hurt his ankle Saturday, the NHL’s second-worst team has beaten the league’s two best.

In Tuesday’s 5-3 win against the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning, terrific individual efforts, fine special teams play and a balanced attack buoyed the Sabres.... Read the full article

Cory Conacher played 19 games with the Sabres four years ago. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabre Cory Conacher thrilled to be back with Lightning

BUFFALO – Two and a half years ago, former Sabres center Cory Conacher wanted a fresh start. So just months removed from regular NHL duty, the Canisius College product bolted overseas to Switzerland.

“The reason I went over was just to find a second wind,” Conacher said Tuesday prior to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 5-3 loss to the Sabres inside KeyBank Center.

Some risk, of course, accompanied leaving North America at 25 years old. Conacher, ... Read the full article

Chad Johnson has zero home wins this season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Chad Johnson to start against Lightning

BUFFALO – Against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the NHL’s top team, you figure the Sabres would start No. 1 goalie Robin Lehner, who has played 42 times this season.

But Lehner, fresh off Sunday’s 5-4 home loss to Colorado, will sit tonight for backup Chad Johnson.

Why start Johnson, who has just three wins and zero at home?... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly stepped up in Jack Eichel's absence. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres struggle in first game without Jack Eichel, lose to Avalache

BUFFALO – The Sabres can soften Jack Eichel’s loss, of course, if some of their other top players – think Ryan O’Reilly and Rasmus Ristolainen – step up and seize additional opportunities in his absence.

If they don’t, what could happen without Eichel, their most dynamic presence and leading scorer? They won only 16 of their first 55 games with Eichel, who’s sidelined indefinitely after suffering a high right ankle sprain Saturday.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel suffered a high left ankle sprain last season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jack Eichel out indefinitely with high ankle sprain

BUFFALO – Sabres center Jack Eichel is out indefinitely after suffering a high right ankle sprain early in Saturday’s 4-2 win in Boston, the team announced this afternoon.

Only eight weeks are left in another miserable Sabres campaign, so Eichel’s season could be over.

The injury, of course, is familiar to Eichel. When the Sabres’ only NHL All-Star suffered a high left ankle sprain on the eve of the 2016-17 season opener, he missed the ... Read the full article

Casey Nelson has played eight straight games. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Casey Nelson becoming regular

BUFFALO – Call Casey Nelson the forgotten Sabres defenseman. As injuries ravaged the blue line earlier this season, he stayed in Rochester, playing big minutes as the Americans got off to their best start in years.

The Sabres recalled Nelson in mid-November. But he only sat out as a healthy scratch before going back to the AHL later in the month.... Read the full article