BUFFALO – Ask any Sabres player or fan to name the team’s biggest rival, and they would likely peg the Toronto Maple Leafs, tonight’s opponent at KeyBank Center.
Without any recent playoff series – the Sabres haven’t made the postseason since 2011 – or high-stakes regular-season meetings to ramp up intensity and generate hatred, the Sabres don’t exactly have a lot of opponents they detest these days.
The Leafs, their closest opponent at just 100 ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – When Alex Tuch mentioned the number of fans who would be watching him play Saturday afternoon, no one was sure if the Syracuse native was joking.
“Maybe a little bit more than 400,” the Vegas Golden Knights rookie winger said Friday.
Cheering sections for local players and even some from further locales are common at KeyBank Center. Following games, family and friends often congregate around the Zamboni entrance and wait for their hero ... Read the full article
PITTSBURGH – For one period Sunday, everything went right for the Buffalo Sabres.
They jumped out to a seemingly commanding lead, scoring three times by the 18:07 mark. The Penguins, meanwhile, couldn’t beat Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson, who stopped all 13 first-period shots. One Penguins goal was called back following a review. They also hit a post.
Still, a 3-0 advantage hardly felt commanding.
The reeling Sabres have a penchant for blowing late leads. The ... Read the full article
PITTSBURGH – A month ago, the Buffalo Sabres awarded defenseman Justin Falk a one-year contract extension because the 28-year-old, a quiet offseason addition, provided some strong depth as the injuries ravaged the blue line.
Then the defense corps got healthy, leaving Falk the odd man out again for seven games.
But with defenseman Dmitry Kulikov out with an upper-body injury for this afternoon’s tilt against the Penguins, Falk will play his first game since Feb. ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – When Johan Larsson scored his first goal this season Monday, the winner with 3:13 left in the Sabres’ 2-1 comeback win in Detroit, coach Dan Bylsma couldn’t quite read the center’s body language.
“Whether he was happy, relieved, matter of fact,” Bylsma said this morning after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s game against the New Jersey Devils. “I know he’s been pressing for a while now not having scored. To get that one ... Read the full article
While it’s hard to believe now, Ville Leino’s arrival in Buffalo almost three years ago was greeted with some fanfare.
Back then, Leino was one of the best free agents on the market. Awarding Leino a stunning six-year, $27 million contract was risky. The Finn only had one full NHL season under his belt. But the signing proved the Sabres wanted to bring in the best talent they could and gun for a Stanley Cup.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – When the worst season of Drew Stafford’s career mercifully ended five months ago – he describes the six-goal, 18-point campaign as hitting “rock bottom” – the Sabres winger stopped dwelling on it.
“You got to get over it,” Stafford said Thursday inside the First Niagara Center after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s preseason finale in Carolina. “It was an absolute nightmare. It’s one of those things where you can’t change the past, what’s ... Read the full article
TORONTO – Think about it, Buffalo Sabres fans, a couple of years ago, your team switched identities with the hated, mega-market Maple Leafs.
As the small-market Sabres morphed into a free-spending, win-at-all-costs club under new owner Terry Pegula, the Leafs began embracing development and patience, the Sabres’ old and successful philosophies.
The Leafs’ major volte-face has quickly paid off. They finished fifth this season, their highest spot since 2003-04.
Inside a noisy Air Canada Centre ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Their run together stands at 423 total games over five fruitless seasons. In that time, the Sabres’ homegrown core players have earned two playoff appearances and zero series wins.
Most teams would’ve broken up that group years ago. The Sabres have plodded forward, mostly keeping it intact despite little success.
But a veteran star could finally be jettisoned following a bitterly disappointing ninth-place finish this season. A club constructed to hoist ... Read the full article
TORONTO – By the third period of the hapless Maple Leafs’ 11th consecutive home loss Thursday, the remaining fans inside the Air Canada Centre – normally some of the NHL’s quietest and most corporate patrons – finally had enough.
Watching the Philadelphia Flyers throttle their Leafs 7-1 put the self-proclaimed “Center of the Hockey Universe” in a baseball mood.
“Let’s go Blue Jays” fans chanted three times, getting pretty loud by the end.
Yikes!... Read the full article