Will Borgen was injured Feb. 20. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Will Borgen nearing return, close to becoming NHL regular

BUFFALO – When Sabres defenseman Will Borgen blocked a shot with his right forearm Feb. 20 in New Jersey, he had no idea it had been fractured.

“They just kind of stitched it up because it was bleeding a little bit,” Borgen said on a Zoom call this morning after skating with his teammates. “I didn’t have an excuse to not play at the time.”

So Borgen, 24, finished the Sabres’ 3-2 win against the ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has played 14 games for Rochester this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen ready for chance in NHL

BUFFALO – Forget about goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s last six outings, Rochester Americans coach Seth Appert said.

Yes, Luukkonen, 22, has looked sloppy at times since the Amerks’ COVID-19 pause ended late last month, compiling a 2-3-1 record and an awful .863 save percentage.

But a lot of players struggle after being forced to sit idle. Luukkonen did not play for three weeks.

Appert believes Luukkonen’s early-season exploits and the strong habits he has developed illustrate ... Read the full article

Dustin Tokarski made 34 saves Sunday afternoon. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Goalie Dustin Tokarski looks sharp with little rest, helps Sabres beat Penguins

BUFFALO – Having played goalie into his mid-teens before switching to forward, interim Sabres coach Don Granato possesses a strong understanding of the unique position.

Granato knows the strain of playing back-to-back days often affects the goalie’s focus and other subtleties in his game. He might, for example, have trouble playing his angles or handling rebounds.

But in Sunday afternoon’s 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, goalie Dustin Tokarski looked sharper than he did a ... Read the full article

Mattias Samuelsson was recalled Sunday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect Mattias Samuelsson looks impressive in NHL debut

BUFFALO – A month ago, recalling defenseman Mattias Samuelsson and giving one of their top prospects a taste of the NHL wasn’t an option for the Sabres.

They were in the midst of their marathon 18-game winless skid, and the defense corps, like every aspect of the team, was struggling. They couldn’t expose a rookie to that environment.

But the defense has been thriving under interim coach Don Granato and interim assistant Dan Girardi, ... Read the full article

Mattias Samuelsson was a second-round pick in 2018. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres recall Mattias Samuelsson from Amerks, make other moves

BUFFALO – The Sabres this afternoon recalled defenseman Mattias Samuelsson, one of their top prospects, from the Rochester Americans.

Samuelsson, 21, will make his NHL debut this afternoon against the Pittsburgh Penguins at KeyBank Center.

General manager Kevyn Adams and interim coach Don Granato have said they plan to give some of the organizations prospects a taste of the NHL over the final few weeks this season.... Read the full article

Tage Thompson has scored five times in the last nine games. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Tage Thompson, Sabres’ other young players grab starring roles

BUFFALO – The Sabres are finally playing meaningful late-season games.

Of course, the outcomes won’t affect the standings. Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins officially eliminated them from the postseason for a record-tying 10th consecutive season.

Still, the final weeks of this campaign will shape the Sabres’ future. Interim coach Don Granato has handed the keys over to some of his young players, and so far, they’ve seized their opportunities.

On Saturday, for ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens has moved back to center, his natural position. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres rookie Dylan Cozens showcasing offense, emerging as special talent

BUFFALO – Sabres rookie center Dylan Cozens has quickly reached another phase of his development, adding slick playmaking to his repertoire.

Since Cozens, 20, returned from an upper-body injury Sunday, he has recorded four assists, two more than he compiled in his first 25 games.

Thursday’s 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals was arguably Cozens’ best NHL outing. The Yukon native registered two primary assists, creating goals for wingers Sam Reinhart and Anders Bjork.... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark has earned nine of Buffalo’s 11 wins this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ goalie picture for weekend still unclear; Linus Ullmark week to week

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark is week to week with a lower-body injury, interim coach Don Granato said this afternoon.

So, does that mean Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will be recalled? General manager Kevyn Adams said Thursday the top goalie prospect could make his NHL debut this weekend.

Luukkonen, 22, hasn’t been summoned yet. Granato said the Sabres would determine his status later today. The Finn has been recovering from a lower-body injury and missed the ... Read the full article

Dustin Tokarski has played seven games this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres goalie Dustin Tokarski dedicates first NHL win since 2015 to late father

When the final horn sounded and Dustin Tokarski earned his first NHL victory since 2015, the Buffalo Sabres goalie stayed in his crease and pointed his glove to rafters.

Moments later, Tokarski’s excited teammates assembled in front of him, and one by one they each congratulated him, giving him some kind words and a tap on the mask.

“It was pretty incredible, to be honest,” an emotional Tokarski said following Thursday’s 5-2 win over the ... Read the full article

Dustin Tokarski enjoyed an impressive relief performance Tuesday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Goaltending becomes concern again for Sabres

A lower-body injury will force Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark to miss tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals, meaning Dustin Tokarski will receive his fifth start this season.

Taxi-squad goalie Michael Houser, who has never played an NHL game, will back up Tokarski. Houser, 28, hasn’t played a contest at any level in more than 13 months.

Top goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen would be the only available recall, but Rochester Americans coach Seth Appert... Read the full article