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Mikhail Grigorenko played his second NHL game this season Saturday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Mikhail Grigorenko knew the Sabres were short one forward and had the Colorado Avalanche, a team led by Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy, his former junior coach, coming up on the schedule.

Grigorenko, who played in Tuesday’s 5-1 loss in Winnipeg before going back to Rochester, wanted to get recalled again badly. To his relief, the Sabres summoned the Russian again Saturday morning.

“I was hoping I would get called up, especially that game against Colorado against Patrick,” Grigorenko …

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Marcus Foligno scored in three straight games last week. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – After scoring a goal in three consecutive wins recently, his hottest stretch since he burst into the NHL almost three years ago, Sabres center Marcus Foligno believes he has finally turned a corner in what has often been an enigmatic career.

“Yeah, I do,” Foligno said Thursday following practice inside HarborCenter. “I feel a lot better in myself and the way I’ve been playing, the way I’ve been seeing the ice, and just the confidence is a little bit …

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Matt Moulson beats Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner for the shootout winner Monday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Monday’s exciting 5-4 come-from-behind shootout victory against the Ottawa Senators extended the Sabres’ winning streak to four games. That’s 10 triumphs in their last 13 games. The surging team has rallied from third-period deficits in five of its last six wins.

In one month, the Sabres have morphed from a hapless team destined to finish last again into a legitimate playoff contender.

“We got something special going,” said Sabres center Marcus Foligno, who scored for the third straight game.

No kidding.

Following …

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Tyler Ennis is the Sabres' leading scorer. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Around this city and the Sabres, speedy Tyler Ennis is a star, the most dynamic offensive threat on a low-scoring team. Around the NHL, however, the winger is still a bit of an unknown.

Ennis’ name mostly pops up national circles when he scores a highlight-reel goal.

That could be starting to change.

One goal and five points during the three straight home wins just earned Ennis the NHL’s first star for the week ending Dec. 14.

Ennis, who has eight goals …

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Tyler Ennis had five points last week. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Slick winger Tyler Ennis, who had one goal and five points during the Sabres’ three-game home winning streak, has been named the NHL’s first star for the week ending Dec. 14.

Ennis, who has eight goals and a team-high 21 points, enjoyed one of the best weeks of his six-year career.

The 25-year-old scored the only goal in Tuesday’s win 1-0 against Los Angeles, had three assists in Thursday’s 4-3 win against Calgary and created Nikita Zadorov’s overtime winner in …

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Patrick Kaleta recorded his first assist this season Saturday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Yes, 30 games into the season, the Sabres still possess the NHL’s worst offense. At their current pace, they would score 142 goals, eight fewer than last year, when they set the NHL’s all-time low mark for a full campaign.

But the Sabres’ offense is no longer feeble. At times, it can even be downright dangerous.

Thirty of the Sabres’ 52 goals have come in the last 12 games, a stretch in which they’re 9-3.

They have eight goals in their …

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Nikita Zadorov scored his second NHL goal Saturday. ©2014, Janet Schultz, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – For much of the Sabres’ exciting 4-3 overtime victory against the Florida Panthers on Saturday, the young defense tandem of Rasmus Ristolainen, 20, and Nikita Zadorov, 19, struggled badly.

Up 2-0 early in the second period, Ristolainen coughed up the puck and the Panthers scored off of Zadorov’s skate. They tied it minutes later with the youngsters on the ice again.

“You don’t belittle, and you don’t blame them,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. “You nurture them.”

Zadorov made amends, scoring …

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Matt Moulson celebrates one of his goals Thursday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Matt Moulson can’t figure out what exactly caused his awful, career-worst start. Maybe the five-year, $25 million contract the Sabres awarded the high-scoring winger in free agency played in his head. Perhaps the expectations that accompany scoring 30 goals three straight years weighed on him.

Whatever the case, Moulson was downright terrible earlier this season. At one point during his 14-game goal drought, his wife, Alicia, gave him a little pep talk.

“I remember my wife saying at the start …

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Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth makes a second-period save Thursday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have lived oh-so dangerously in their victories this season. Getting outshot by double digits and handling the puck for just a small portion of the game is usually a recipe for disaster.

Somehow, the rebuilding club has managed to find success with opponents controlling most of the play.

Despite getting outshot 45-19, the Sabres won again Thursday, using two third-period goals to rally and beat the Calgary Flames 4-3 before an announced crowd 18,208 fans inside the First …

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Chris Stewart knows he must play physically if he's not scoring. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Struggling Sabres winger Chris Stewart has three goals in 27 games this season, skated less than 10 minutes in each of his last two appearances and recently had his coach accuse him of doing “pirouettes” on the ice.

Still, a seething Stewart said getting scratched for the Sabres’ 1-0 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday was “a big surprise.”

“I’m not happy about it,” Stewart said Wednesday following a long skate. “I don’t agree with being a healthy …

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