Rasmus Ristolainen (55) clears Nashville's Viktor Arvidsson from the front of the net Monday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres play well against heavyweight Predators, still lose

BUFFALO – Considering the heavyweight Nashville Predators roared into town on a 14-game point streak, the Sabres fared pretty well against the NHL’s best team Monday, falling 4-0 after allowing two late goals.

On paper, it was an epic mismatch.

Having earned only 58 points through 72 games, the last-place Sabres have been eliminated from the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Predators, thanks to an NHL-best 106 points, have already clinched a postseason berth.... Read the full article

Ryan Ellis considred Phil Housley more of a friend than a coach. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Predators’ Ryan Ellis grew close to Phil Housley

BUFFALO – In good times or bad, on or off the ice, Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis could always turn to Sabres coach Phil Housley.

“He was always kind of there,” Ellis said prior to Monday’s 4-0 win against the Sabres, Housley’s first meeting against his old team. “He was like the calming influence.”

Ellis, 27, morphed into one of the NHL’s highest-scoring defensemen over Housley’s four years as an assistant coach in Nashville. ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark has started one game this season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark to start against scorching Predators

BUFFALO – When Sabres coach Phil Housley said last week he planned to give goalie Linus Ullmark some starts, you figured he might ease the prospect in early.

Remember, while Ullmark has played 22 NHL contests, 20 of his appearances came as a rookie in 2015-16. The Swede has spent most of the last two seasons in the AHL.

But Housley will throw Ullmark, 24, into the fray against the scorching Nashville Predators tonight ... Read the full article

Phil Housley spent four years in Nashville. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Experience with Predators special for Sabres coach Phil Housley

BUFFALO – By about 2013, Phil Housley knew it was time to take a crack at the NHL.

When Housley retired from his 21-year career as a defenseman in 2003, he went home to Minnesota and enjoyed life as a husband and father while coaching the boy’s team at Stillwater High School.

After so many years moving around North America, Housley, who now coaches the Sabres, wanted to settle down and watch his children grow ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo has missed three games. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo ready to return from concussion

BUFFALO – All signs point to Sabres winger Kyle Okposo returning from a concussion for Monday’s home tilt against the Nashville Predators.

“I would think so,” a smiling Okposo said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “I practiced with a line, practiced on the power play.”

Still, Okposo, who said he has been cleared to play, wouldn’t officially say he’s back.... Read the full article

Nick Baptiste (13) skates away from his teammates after celebrating his game-winning goal Saturday afternoon. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Nick Baptiste stars in rare Sabres win over Blackhawks

BUFFALO – On a Sabres team filled with, well, not exactly the fastest players, winger Nick Baptiste’s speed stands out.

Slick skating has helped the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Baptiste finally earn regular NHL action three years into his pro career. But the former third-round pick has played 12 straight games because he has evolved and started figuring what can make him successful.... Read the full article

Nathan Beaulieu has four fights this season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Nathan Beaulieu ‘big believer in fighting’

BUFFALO – In his NHL career, Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu has fought 12 times, or an average of once every 23 games.

Speed and other skills, of course, helped Beaulieu reach the big leagues. Still, he believes fighting is a vital part of his repertoire.

“I’m a big believer in fighting in hockey,” Beaulieu said prior to recording an assist in Saturday afternoon’s 5-3 win against the Chicago Blackhawks. “I feel like there’s a place ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo also suffered a concussion last season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo practices, feeling healthy after concussion

BUFFALO – When Sabres winger Kyle Okposo suffered his second concussion in less than a year, his mind raced back to his frightening experience last season.

Last March, a concussion forced Okposo, 29, to be hospitalized in intensive care. So following his collision with Senators winger Bobby Ryan last week in Ottawa, he thought the worst.

“That kind of runs through your mind, ‘Oh no, I hope it doesn’t happen again,’ and, ‘Here we ... Read the full article

The Sabres recalled Linus Ullmark on Tuesday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Linus Ullmark back with Sabres after birth of son

BUFFALO – About 10 days before Linus Ullmark’s wife, Moa, gave birth to a baby boy, the goalie started giving a physical therapist in Rochester his phone during practices in case she went into labor.

After the Sabres recalled Ullmark from the Americans on Tuesday, he let Michael Adesso, the Buffalo’s assistant athletic trainer and physical therapist, hold his phone when he was on the ice.

Early during Wednesday’s session inside HarborCenter, the loquacious Ullmark... Read the full article

Nathan Beaulieu (right) fights Toronto's Matt Martin on Thursday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres start slowly, fall to Maple Leafs

BUFFALO – Defenseman Nathan Beaulieu’s decision to challenge one of the NHL’s toughest customers had the desired effect for the reeling Sabres.

With the Sabres down 2-0 just minutes into Thursday’s 5-2 loss, Beaulieu picked a fight with Toronto Maple Leafs heavyweight Matt Martin.

“Sometimes it’s just something you need to do,” Beaulieu said. “A lot of respect over there to give me that opportunity. He’s a tough customer. Just trying to wake the boys ... Read the full article