Jamie McGinn has celebrated a lot of goals this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Jamie McGinn and Ryan O’Reilly happy as Sabres teammates, linemates

BUFFALO – Right away, Jamie McGinn could hear the excitement in Ryan O’Reilly’s voice. It was June 26, and the two friends had just been traded from the Colorado Avalanche, only they didn’t know they would be joining the Sabres together.

So McGinn and O’Reilly called each other when they learned the full details of the blockbuster deal from television.

The two forwards had grown close over the years, and they knew moving to ... Read the full article

Jamie McGinn backhands the puck between his legs and past Los Angeles goalie Jhonas Enroth on Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ryan O’Reilly’s overtime winner clinches Sabres’ win over Kings

BUFFALO – Usually, Ryan O’Reilly said, if he gets an open look in the slot, he likes to shoot low blocker side on the goalie. But given the Sabres center was falling in front of sliding defender Alec Martinez, he just had to take the best shot he could in overtime.

“I just tried to get it off in that area,” O’Reilly said Saturday after his 100th NHL goal – a nifty score at ... Read the full article

Los Angeles goalie Jhonas Enroth enjoyed his time in Buffalo. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Kings goalie Jhonas Enroth has happy memories of Sabres

BUFFALO – Los Angeles Kings goalie Jhonas Enroth takes his fondest memories of his five year-run with the Sabres from the franchise’s darkest days.

Throughout all the losing and turmoil last season, he tended some of his best goal ever, briefly becoming the Sabres’ most valuable player.

Sure, Enroth detested losing. He usually looked beaten down after losses. Still, to the Swede, who briefly lived his dream of becoming the Sabres’ No. 1 goalie, some ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark is 0-4-2 in his last six starts. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark believes struggles are mental

BUFFALO – Right now, Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark’s struggles are “mostly mental things,” the Swede said this morning. In his last six starts, the rookie is 0-4-2 and has allowed 18 goals. In his last three starts, his save percentage is .859.

Remember, Ullmark, who will start tonight against the Los Angeles Kings, dazzled early on, winning four of his first six starts.

“We know that my game works,” Ullmark said inside the First ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen already has seven goals. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen scores rare hat trick

As I wrote a week ago, before he scored the first hat trick by a Buffalo Sabres defenseman in almost 28 years, Rasmus Ristolainen is quickly becoming a star.

Ristolainen, 21, might be the Sabres’ best player. With three third-period goals Thursday in Calgary in the Sabres’ 4-3 loss to the Flames, he already has 21 points in 29 games, one more point than he compiled last season in 49 fewer games.

“He ... Read the full article

Evander Kane (9) keeps the puck away from Arizona's Stefan Elliott on Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Evander Kane finally scoring

BUFFALO – Realistically, having scored six times in 16 games this season, Sabres winger Evander Kane likely won’t hit his lofty preseason target of 40 or 50 goals.

Scoring once in his first 11 appearances and missing 10 contests with an MCL injury certainly didn’t help.

But that disappointing start has recently become an afterthought, as Kane’s one of the NHL’s hottest scorers as the Sabres start a three-game Canadian road trip tonight against the ... Read the full article

Evander Kane scored twice Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ offense explodes in win over Coyotes

BUFFALO – First, Sam Reinhart utilized his soft hands around the net Friday. Jamie McGinn followed with a wicked one-timer off a perfect feed from Jack Eichel. Evander Kane scored later on a short-handed breakaway.

Not only are the Sabres finally scoring goals these days, they’re generating pretty ones, a sure sign the offense is humming for the first time all season.

The Sabres’ third win in four games, an exciting 5-2 victory against the ... Read the full article

John Scott played only his seventh game Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Tough guy John Scott wants NHL All-Star spot

BUFFALO – The sight, of course, would be odd. Just imagine 6-foot-8 former Sabres tough guy John Scott, who has five goals in his eight-year career, competing against superstars like Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos in the new three-on-three NHL All-Star Game format.

If fans keep casting online ballots for Scott, that could happen Jan. 31 in Nashville.

Right now, Scott, a healthy scratch 19 times with the Arizona Coyotes this season, is the ... Read the full article

Chad Johnson posted strong numbers in November. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres face stiff test in upstart Coyotes

BUFFALO – The Arizona Coyotes, of course, hardly register on the radar around here. As one of the NHL’s perennial dregs, they usually rank among the league’s most irrelevant teams.

But that’s starting to change this season, as two talented rookie forwards – Max Domi and Anthony Duclair – have helped a team many pegged for a lottery pick race out to a 13-11-1 start.

“We don’t see Arizona all that often, but it’s hard ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen was all over the ice Tuesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen developing into star

BUFFALO – No one could believe the number that has been attached to Rasmus Ristolainen’s stat line all season: zero.

In 606 minutes, 12 seconds on the ice spread over 25 games – that’s a team-high 24 minutes, 14 seconds a contest – the Sabres’ ace defenseman hasn’t taken a penalty.

“Zero?” Josh Gorges, Ristolainen’s defense partner, asked incredulously Thursday before saying he was “impressed” and “surprised.”

When informed Ristolainen has zero penalty minutes, ... Read the full article