Alex Ovechkin's Capitals have 84 points. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ ‘biggest game’ of season could vault them into playoff spot

BUFFALO – In reality, it’s a single game for the Sabres, one of 82 regular-season contests. Tonight’s anticipated eight-versus-nine tilt in Washington is potentially worth two points for them, just like any other game.

If the Sabres win, break their tie with the Capitals (84 points) and move into eighth place, they could quickly lose the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot again. Don’t forget, they stayed there less than a day after grabbing it Saturday.... Read the full article

©2012

Scorching Sabres down Wild, roar into eighth place

BUFFALO – Beaten down, broken and seemingly finished at several points this season, the Sabres’ tight 3-1 triumph over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday – their 18th win in 28 tries – bumped the scorching club into the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.

On Feb. 17, the Sabres fell into the cellar, nine points out of the last postseason spot.

If the Sabres, who lead ninth-place Washington by two points (84-82), hold on, the ... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres rookie Travis Turnbull’s first goal celebrated all over

BUFFALO – About 23 minutes into the Sabres’ 4-1 triumph Friday, rookie Travis Turnbull grabbed a loose puck off a faceoff, skated out of the zone and began creating a memorable first NHL goal inside New York’s historic Madison Square Garden.

When Turnbull reached the red line, he shot the puck in and zoomed by the Rangers’ Stu Bickel. The center then briefly retrieved his dump-in, throwing the puck out from behind the net as ... Read the full article

Mike Weber was playing regularly before being scratched Wednesday. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ deep defense corps gives them options

BUFFALO – The plan’s to get Mike Weber some ice again soon, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. With seven healthy defensemen, someone had to sit Wednesday, so Weber, a team-worst minus-19, watched the 3-0 win over Montreal after playing 44 straight games.

Ruff could utilize all seven tonight in New York against the Rangers and drop a forward. He could also scratch Weber and skate him Saturday at home versus the Minnesota Wild.

Despite the ... Read the full article

©2012

Miller’s shutout over Habs has Sabres sniffing playoff spot

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ shocking resurgence – one that’s vaulted them from the Eastern Conference basement to a points tie with eighth-place Washington in 33 days – can be attributed to several factors.

The banged-up defense corps has stayed healthy and locked down. Several slumping stars have started scoring again, giving the team a secondary scoring attack. A few youngsters have contributed immediately upon their arrival from Rochester.

Most notably, though, Ryan Miller began playing ... Read the full article

©2012

First NHL recall ‘best thing’ Sabres rookie Turnbull has ever heard

BUFFALO – Travis Turnbull said he never stopped believing he’d crack the NHL someday. Still, the odds looked stacked against the undrafted center. The Sabres possess a slew of talented youngsters and high-priced veterans in Rochester.

The 25-year-old Turnbull’s name has rarely popped up as a prospect since he was inked out of the University of Michigan in 2009.

The Sabres had already summoned six forwards from the AHL this season when Turnbull’s phone rang ... Read the full article

Illness has sidelined Andrej Sekera the last five games. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sekera’s return could force a Sabres defenseman out

BUFFALO – Ten days ago, as Andrej Sekera was preparing for warm-ups prior to the Sabres’ tilt against Carolina, the defenseman began feeling ill.

“Just came out of nowhere,” Sekera said Friday after practicing inside the First Niagara Center. “My stomach hurt before the game, and then it just hit me – fever, headaches.”

Sekera sat that game, and then hoped to play two nights later in Ottawa.

Instead, the Slovak’s condition “got worse and ... Read the full article

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Sabres’ Hodgson stuggling since deadline deal

BUFFALO – Sixteen days and eight games later, rookie Cody Hodgson, a centerpiece of the NHL trade deadline’s most-talked about transaction, is pointless and skating with Brad Boyes and Corey Tropp on what could be considered the Sabres’ fourth line.

Meanwhile, defenseman Alexander Sulzer, a throw-in to the deal with Vancouver, just played a tick under 24 minutes, a season high.

The German, a spare part a week ago, has possibly cemented a spot for ... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres newcomer Hodgson finally plays game in Buffalo

BUFFALO – Nine days after the Sabres acquired center Cody Hodgson from the Vancouver Canucks in a blockbuster deal at the NHL trade deadline, the 22-year-old rookie finally skated on the First Niagara Center ice Wednesday.

Hodgson had been experiencing a whirlwind acclimation to his new team on the road, and his head hasn’t stopped spinning.

“Has it been that long, really?” Hodgson said Wednesday morning inside the FNC when informed the trade was nine ... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres positioned for unlikely run at postseason

BUFFALO – Go ahead, pick the dates the underachieving Sabres appeared finished and primed to play out the string for a lottery pick.

There are plenty, you know.

There was that embarrassing 5-0 dismantling Jan. 16 in Detroit, after which an emotional Ryan Miller said a trade wouldn’t help the Sabres. Two nights later, the Blackhawks throttled them 6-2 in Chicago, the third of five straight losses on a six game-trip.

On Feb. 16, the ... Read the full article