Linus Ullmark had more help Saturday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Defensive-minded Sabres respond after rough loss, beat Red Wings

BUFFALO – See, the Sabres can still showcase a strong defense. It’s just that sometimes, most notably throughout the disturbing 10-game stretch that preceded their tight 3-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, they rarely showed much interest in it.

“Mentality, we wanted to defend,” Sabres center Evan Rodrigues said of what changed Saturday afternoon, two days after an ugly 6-5 overtime loss. “We didn’t want to the other day. Today, we made a conscious ... Read the full article

Conor Sheary endured a long slump. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Conor Sheary scores, keeps building confidence

BUFFALO – Barely a minute into Saturday afternoon’s second period, Sabres winger Conor Sheary intercepted Justin Abdelkader’s weak backhand pass outside the opposing blue line and zoomed into the slot before beating goalie Jimmy Howard.

The slick goal, just Sheary’s third in the last 34 outings, served as another reminder the diminutive UMass product ranks among the Sabres’ most talented forwards.

“Once I got the turnover, I think I just tried to attack quick,” Sheary ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark has played 23 games this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Tage Thompson back against Red Wings; Linus Ullmark to start

BUFFALO – Some quick notes on this afternoon’s Sabres tilt against the Detroit Red Wings inside KeyBank Center:

– The Sabres will make one lineup change, inserting winger Tage Thompson, a healthy scratch for Thursday’s 6-5 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, for rookie C.J. Smith.

“I liked C.J.’s game, but it’s part of his development,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said this morning. “I thought Tage had a really good, solid game against Detroit ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart knows the Sabres have to give their goalies more support. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres clarify comments following tough loss

BUFFALO – Calm down, everyone. Sam Reinhart said he simply misspoke following Thursday’s 6-5 overtime loss. The winger never meant to call out the performances of Sabres goalies Carter Hutton and Linus Ullmark.

Reinhart issued a mea culpa Friday, saying when he learned how his comments were being construed on Twitter, he became rattled thinking his words came off the wrong way.

“That’s not what I meant at all,” Reinhart said after the Sabres prepared ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt (37) drives past Detroit's Justin Abdelkader on Thursday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Casey Mittelstadt records assist in debut, Sabres lose to Red Wings

BUFFALO – Sabres rookie Casey Mittelstadt’s first NHL point wasn’t created by his dynamic speed, adroit passing or supreme hockey sense.

No, 4:51 in the third period of Thursday’s 6-3 loss to the hapless Detroit Red Wings, Mittelstadt, 19, simply won a draw cleanly back to linemate Evan Rodrigues, who beat goalie Jimmy Howard to get the Sabres within one goal.

One game, one assist for the eighth overall pick in 2017.... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly takes a faceoff against Detroit's Frans Nielsen on Thursday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly roaring toward NHL faceoff record

BUFFALO – Ryan O’Reilly’s faceoff skills are so dynamic he takes and wins more than any NHL player. Yet the Sabres center thinks draws are, well, overrated.

Overrated?

Sabres coach Phil Housley constantly relies on O’Reilly’s faceoff prowess, utilizing him an average of 26 times a game. Through 75 appearances entering Thursday’s tilt 6-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings inside KeyBank Center, O’Reilly had won 1,181 of the 1,949 draws he had taken, a ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt signed his entry-level contract earlier this week. ©2018, University of Minnesota Athletics

Sabres prospect Casey Mittelstadt ready for NHL debut

BUFFALO – As puck drop approaches, Sabres rookie Casey Mittelstadt said he might experience some nerves.

“It might be a bit of a long day,” the speedy center said this morning after preparing for his NHL debut, tonight’s tilt against the Detroit Red Wings.

Still, hours before the game, the Sabres’ top prospect seemed unfazed by the life-changing day and all the attention being paid to him.... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt hasn't played a game in weeks. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Warm welcome helps Sabres rookie Casey Mittelstadt

BUFFALO – Right away, center Casey Mittelstadt’s new teammates reached out and welcomed the slick prospect to the Sabres.

So shortly after Mittelstadt signed his entry-level contract Tuesday, center Jack Eichel took him to lunch. Hours later, winger Sam Reinhart had dinner with Mittelstadt, his new linemate.

Mittelstadt, 19, will make his NHL debut tonight against the Detroit Red Wings inside KeyBank Center. In a miserable season widely regarded as the franchise’s worst ever, ... Read the full article

Casey Nelson has improved his defense this season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Casey Nelson earning regular duty on blue line

BUFFALO – Earlier this season, if you had asked Casey Nelson if he could play 20 minutes a night in the NHL, often against the opposition’s top line, the Sabres defenseman would’ve given you a straightforward answer.

“I’d say there’s no chance, there’s no way,” Nelson said Wednesday inside KeyBank Center.

But in tonight’s tilt in Detroit, Nelson, 25, will likely play big minutes on the second defense pair, meaning he’ll face some of the ... Read the full article

Josh Gorges (4) checks Scott Wilson, then with Pittsburgh, two seasons ago. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Scott Wilson has winning background

BUFFALO – On paper, the Sabres acquired a third- or fourth-line forward with 13 goals and 32 points in 123 career NHL games. But in Scott Wilson, they have a player who developed in a winning culture and raised the Stanley Cup six months ago.

For a team currently dead last in the NHL, that means something.

Shortly after the Sabres waived Matt Moulson on Monday, general manager Jason Botterill sent the Detroit Red ... Read the full article