Marcus Foligno is in his second season with the Wild. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Marcus Foligno enjoying tenure with Wild

BUFFALO – This trip was more relaxing. A year ago, Marcus Foligno said he experienced “a lot of nerves” visiting here as an opponent.

“Now it’s just another road game,” said the Buffalo-born Foligno, who’s in his second season with the Minnesota Wild after spending six years with the Sabres.

He added: “It’s always special to come back to Buffalo. You get a little bit excited.”

Foligno, 27, has settled in nicely with the Wild, ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt has strong chemistry with his linemates. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Casey Mittelstadt brimming with confidence

BUFFALO – One of the best stretches of Casey Mittelstadt’s 57-game NHL career – two goals and four points over seven recent contests – hasn’t boosted the Sabres rookie’s confidence.

“I don’t think I’m more confident or anything,” Mittelstadt said prior to Friday’s 7-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks inside KeyBank Center. “I don’t struggle in that department.”

Mittelstadt, 20, doesn’t lack confidence.

“I know what I’m capable of doing,” the slick center said.... Read the full article

Lawrence Pilut hasn't played since Jan. 18. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres rookie Lawrence Pilut to return against Blackhawks

BUFFALO – Rejoice, Sabres fans. Rookie defenseman Lawrence Pilut will return tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks after sitting out two straight games as a healthy scratch.

Sabres coach Phil Housley changed his blue line the last two contests, inserting Matt Hunwick and Nathan Beaulieu while Pilut, 23, watched.

While Housley said he liked what the veterans showcased, Pilut, a slick youngster fans have been clamoring to see, will play his first game since Jan. 18.... Read the full article

Goalie Carter Hutton could see plenty of action during the Sabres' home stand. ©2019, Hickling Images

Long home stand could make or break Sabres’ season

BUFFALO – For a struggling team that must rattle off wins if it hopes to snag a playoff spot for the first time since 2011, this is a gift. Starting tonight, the Sabres play their next seven games at home.

How rare is a seven-game home stand? It’s the longest in franchise history, tying a stretch from Jan. 20 to Feb. 2, 1997.

The Sabres’ season hinges on this 15-day stretch. Realistically, they need to ... Read the full article

Matt Hunwick hasn't played since Dec. 18. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Nathan Beaulieu, Matt Hunwick patiently waiting to play

BUFFALO – Doing extra work on and off the ice to stay sharp for your next opportunity is the easy part for healthy scratches.

“It’s not so much my body, my hands, my legs,” said Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, who has been scratched 12 out of the last 15 games. “It’s more the mental part of it. The game’s really fast. You step in the position you’re in, a lot is on the line, ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel joined his teammates again this morning. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jack Eichel snags memorabilia; Phil Housley unsure about defense

BUFFALO – Before Sabres captain Jack Eichel left the NHL All-Star Game in San Jose, he snagged some special memorabilia for his house.

In addition to having his game jersey signed by the entire Eastern Conference squad and a stick autographed by everyone in the game, the high-scoring center received an item he has coveted.

“I grabbed one of (Sidney) Crosby’s sticks,” Eichel said this afternoon inside KeyBank Center. “That was cool. I had been ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo has scored seven goals this season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres notes: Kyle Okposo showcasing more physicality

BUFFALO – Over the last week or two, Sabres winger Kyle Okposo has finally started showcasing signs of his old self, playing a heavier, straight-line game.

“He’s going to the net a lot better,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said prior to Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning inside KeyBank Center. “I think he’s attacking off the wing and he’s shooting a lot more.”

Not surprisingly, Okposo has started scoring a bit. After enduring ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons knows Tampa Bay well. ©2019, Hickling Images

Lightning could become one of best teams in NHL history

BUFFALO – Forty-four days ago, the first-place Sabres roared into Tampa Bay enjoying a 10-game winning streak. While they lost 5-4 and fell one point behind the Lightning, the end of their raucous run felt like the start of something special.

It seemed like the foes could be battling for the Atlantic Division’s top spot all season.

Well, since that night, the Sabres are 6-9-4. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, is a stunning 17-1-1.

Yes, Tampa Bay ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner has scored 28 goals this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Jack Eichel out against Panthers; Jeff Skinner needs votes

BUFFALO – Sabres captain Jack Eichel’s upper-body injury doesn’t appear to be serious.

Eichel, 22, missed Thursday’s 4-3 win against the Florida Panthers inside KeyBank Center and will also sit out Saturday’s road tilt against the Boston Bruins, Sabres coach Phil Housley said.

The slick center, who earned a spot in the NHL All-Star Game on Wednesday, will be reevaluated early next week, Housley said.

“It’s very encouraging,” Housley said of the news. “Obviously, Jack’s ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel left Monday's game early. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jack Eichel out next two games, will be reevaluated next week

BUFFALO – An upper-body injury will sideline Sabres captain Jack Eichel at least two games, coach Phil Housley said this morning.

The Sabres’ leading scoring will miss tonight’s contest against the Florida Panthers at KeyBank Center and Saturday’s road tilt versus the Boston Bruins.

Eichel, who earned a spot in the NHL All-Star Game on Wednesday, will be reevaluated early next week, Housley said.

“It’s very encouraging,” Housley said of the news. “Obviously, Jack’s been ... Read the full article