Rasmus Ristolainen (55) stops a puck Thursday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Stunned Sabres blow early lead, lose critical game to Bruins

BUFFALO – Ten minutes after Thursday’s demoralizing 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins, the anger and shock that accompanies blowing a two-goal lead hadn’t worn off. As some stunned Sabres spoke quietly, cursing from a restricted area behind the dressing room occasionally erupted.

It was that kind of loss for the Sabres, a team already fighting for its playoff life.

The Sabres, slow starters all season, pounced on the Bruins, playing perhaps their best hockey ... Read the full article

Marcus Foligno has been utilizing his big frame. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Marcus Foligno showcasing toughness

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Marcus Foligno has a simple explanation why he fixed his hair at a bizarre time – during a heavyweight scrap against Shawn Thornton, the NHL’s dean of fighters – in Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers.

“Just try to get readjusted and get ready for round two,” a smiling Foligno said Thursday prior to the Sabres’ 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes inside KeyBank Center.

The bout was a ... Read the full article

Dan Bylsma's Sabres have been starting game slowly. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres must start ’emotionally attached’ against Hurricanes tonight

BUFFALO – For the past few weeks, the Sabres have rarely broken a disturbing trend of starting slowly and falling behind.

Some nights, they’ve roared back to win. Other nights, however, their penchant for stumbling out of the gate bites them.

In Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout loss in Florida, the Sabres trailed 2-0 before zooming back to take a late 3-2 lead.

What must the Sabres change early tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes?

“We need to ... Read the full article

William Carrier (48) celebrates his first NHL goal Nov. 19. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres rookie William Carrier skating with top talents

BUFFALO – When William Carrier earns ice time flanking center Ryan O’Reilly and a top winger, the Sabres rookie has a straightforward assignment to help his talented linemates.

“He’s just going, head down, bruising the way for those guys to get pucks and play with that puck,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said.

That means goals haven’t been priority for the 6-foot-2, 212-pound Carrier, who has scored just once in his first 17 NHL games.

“That’s ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo moved beside Jack Eichel today. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres change up top lines

BUFFALO – When you rank last in the NHL in goals and are coming off your 12th one-goal outing this season, line changes are expected.

So Sabres coach Dan Bylsma switched the right wingers on his top two lines today, putting Kyle Okposo beside center Jack Eichel and Evander Kane and Sam Reinhart with center Ryan O’Reilly and William Carrier.

“A little shakeup in the line combinations,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said inside HarborCenter.

Expect ... Read the full article

Evander hasn't scored this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Evander Kane searching for first goal

OTTAWA – Five years ago, Buffalo Sabres winger Evander Kane enjoyed the best start of his eight-year career, scoring 18 times in his first 36 games for the Winnipeg Jets, a torrid 41-goal pace over a full season.

Then, in the midst of his career year, Kane suddenly endured an 11-game goal drought.

“Maybe I could’ve scored 40 if I didn’t have that slump,” Kane said to Tuesday prior to recording an assist in the ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel battled a bit today. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jack Eichel nearing return

BUFFALO – Given Jack Eichel’s workload so far in practice – the talented Sabres center has only participated in a couple of battle drills and lines rushes – it seems unlikely he could return from a high left ankle sprain Tuesday.

But Eichel, 20, keeps making positive progress. Today inside HarborCenter, Eichel briefly bumped with some teammates and skated beside Evander Kane, his regular left winger late last season, and a couple of right wingers.... Read the full article

Cal O'Reilly ranks third in AHL scoring. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sent 3 forwards to Amerks

BUFFALO – The Sabres sent forwards William Carrier, Cal O’Reilly and Cole Schneider back to the Rochester Americans on Saturday.

All three played for the AHL club later in the day against the Albany Devils.

The Sabres, who had Saturday off and don’t play again until Tuesday, have limited salary cap space, so sending players down between games helps save some money.

O’Reilly and Schneider rank third and fourth in AHL scoring.... Read the full article

Anders Nilsson makes a save in the second period on Saturday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson stars in shootout win over Penguins

BUFFALO – In just five games with the Sabres, goalie Anders Nilsson has already earned the kind of confidence from his coach that often takes years to develop.

Instead of using No. 1 goalie Robin Lehner against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Dan Bylsma tabbed Nilsson, his backup, to play against the defending Stanley Cup champions on Saturday inside KeyBank Center, a tilt the Sabres won 2-1 in a shootout.

The Swede has impressed this season, ... Read the full article

Anders Nilsson has looked impressive this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson to start against Penguins

BUFFALO – Toward the end of the morning skate, backup goalie Anders Nilsson, not Robin Lehner, started skating to the Sabres bench.

Would Sabres coach Dan Bylsma really start his backup against the Pittsburgh Penguins over Lehner, his starter who has played 13 of the first 17 games?

After fiddling with his sticks at the bench for a few moments – it almost seemed like Nilsson was teasing everyone trying to see if he ... Read the full article