BUFFALO – Suddenly, after weeks of regularly shirking their duties and allowing four or five goals a game, the Sabres have started clamping down defensively.
The results? Two wins over a three-game stretch while giving up just five goals. Following some downright awful defensive displays earlier in their seven-game home stand, the Sabres have finally started showcasing structure again.
Tuesday’s 3-1 victory against the New York Islanders doesn’t rank among their most exciting triumphs this ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – This is probably only a temporary benching. Sabres coach Phil Housley plans to give winger Tage Thompson another opportunity soon.
But for the first time since Nov. 8 and the eighth time this season, Thompson, 21, sat out as a healthy scratch Thursday.
Center Johan Larsson replaced him for the Sabres’6-5 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Thompson, a big piece of the Ryan O’Reilly trade with the St. Louis Blues, had played ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sooner or later, coach Phil Housley needed to make some significant changes, right? The Sabres have fallen from first overall to three points out of a playoff spot.
Having compiled an awful 8-14-4 mark in their last 26 games, their marathon slump has surpassed the two-month mark. In their last 10 outings, they’re a dreadful 3-7.
In recent games, the Sabres have often shown little interest in playing defense and struggled to score ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Former Sabres winger Drew Stafford still remembers the first time he saw Mike Grier.
It was the mid-1990s, more than a decade before they became teammates with the Sabres for two seasons. Stafford would sometimes help his uncle, Barry, the Edmonton Oilers’ equipment manager, as a stick boy. Grier, meanwhile, was just beginning his 14-year NHL career as a winger.
“I was like, ‘This is the largest human being I’ve even seen ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Tonight’s tilt will be lacking some star power and its two main attractions.
An upper-body injury will sideline Sabres captain Jack Eichel, who skated with his teammates again this morning, a third straight game.
“We’re just being cautious with that,” coach Phil Housley said after the Sabres prepared for the New Jersey Devils inside KeyBank Center.
Meanwhile, a lower-body ailment will shelve New Jersey winger Taylor Hall, the reigning Hart Trophy winner, ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – About halfway through this morning’s practice, Sabres captain Jack Eichel stepped out on the ice and joined his teammates.
While Eichel, who has missed two games with an upper-body injury, did not take any line rushes inside KeyBank Center, his presence is a good sign.
The Sabres’ No. 1 center and leading scorer skated a bit as an extra defenseman and also took some reps on the power play.
Coach Phil Housley said ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres winger Zemgus Girgensons, a steady presence on the fourth line this season, is sidelined week-to-week with an upper-body injury, coach Phil Housley said.
Girgensons, 24, has formed a strong duo beside center Johan Larsson, giving the Sabres some valuable minutes.
“Zemgus has done a terrific job,” Housley said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “I think with Larsson and him together, they have a unique chemistry, and whoever we put down there ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Of all the guys Sabres winger Jason Pominville could’ve collided with two weeks ago, it had to be 6-foot-4, 215-pound defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.
“(I) end up hitting pretty much a Finnish wall over there,” the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Pominville said following this afternoon’s practice inside HarborCenter. “So it’s a tough guy to hit if you’re going to pick one.”
Pominville has missed three straight games since his teammate accidentally steamrolled him during a line ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark could’ve been forgiven if it took him a little time to acclimate to his new role as a backup, perhaps the NHL’s toughest job.
No. 2 netminders often go a week or more without playing. When they finally start, they often receive the second of back-to-back games.
But Ullmark, 25, has transitioned nicely into his new gig, winning eight of his first 13 appearances subbing for No. 1 goalie ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – One play was a highlight-reel goal. Sabres winger Zemgus Girgensons didn’t just steal the puck and outmuscle any ordinary defenseman to score a first-period goal Tuesday; he made former Norris Trophy winner Drew Doughty look silly.
The other play, while not as memorable, was just as critical to the Sabres’ 4-3 overtime victory against the Los Angeles Kings. In the third period, Girgensons outraced Jeff Carter to negate an icing.
“It’s little details ... Read the full article