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Foligno

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
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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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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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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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Cody Hodgson (left) talks to assistant coach Bryan Trottier on Thursday morning. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Cody Hodgson’s benching likely won’t last long, coach Ted Nolan said. The struggling center is too important to the Sabres’ long-term success. They need the 24-year-old in the lineup to produce offense, something he hasn’t done all season.

Hodgson, the Sabres’ leading scorer a year ago, has one goal, three points and a minus-11 rating in 28 games.

Nolan finally scratched Hodgson for the Sabres’ 4-3 win against the Calgary Flames on Thursday inside the First Niagara Center.

“Maybe a game …

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Cody Hodgson has struggled all season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Struggling center Cody Hodgson, who has one goal and three points in 28 games this season, will be a healthy scratch for the first time in his Sabres career tonight against the Calgary Flames.

“Maybe a game watching will get him out of that funk,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

Winger Chris Stewart, a scratch last game, will return, Nolan said.

Hodgson has been a colossal disappointment in the second season of a six-year, …

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Chris Stewart has struggled this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Instead of walking into the dressing room following a long skate Tuesday morning, struggling Sabres winger Chris Stewart veered off and undressed somewhere else.

A few minutes later, a staff member wheeled in Stewart’s equipment on a shopping cart and placed it in his locker.

Clearly, Stewart, a healthy scratch for the Sabres’ 1-0 win against the Los Angeles Kings, wasn’t in the mood to discuss his benching.

“All players have to play to the best of their ability,” Sabres coach …

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Chris Stewart scores Nov. 26, his second goal this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Less than two weeks ago, Chris Stewart appeared to turn a corner. The 6-foot-2, 231-pound Sabres winger scored two nifty breakaway goals during a three-game stretch, just his second and third goals this season.

But Stewart has done little since then, so Sabres coach Ted Nolan will make the 27-year-old a healthy scratch for tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Kings inside the First Niagara Center.

“All players have to play to the best of their ability,” Nolan said this …

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Rasmus Ristolainen put his stick in his face Monday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – As players trickled off the ice Monday following practice, Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen suddenly bolted down the hallway holding his nose and went to the trainer’s room.

What happened?

Ristolainen apparently got caught in a rut on the ice, and his stick hit him in the face as he fell backward. The youngster will be OK, Sabres coach Ted Nolan said.

It’s a good thing, because the Sabres are running low on defensemen. They practiced Monday with only five healthy ones. …

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