Carter Hutton got yanked after 40 minutes. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres play loose defensively in ugly loss to Blackhawks

BUFFALO – An agitated Phil Housley mentioned it four times during his three-and-a-half minute news conference following Friday’s ugly 7-3 loss to the last-place Chicago Blackhawks.

The Sabres don’t respect the defensive side of the game.

In their sixth loss in eight games, the Sabres, like so many other recent outings, played a one-dimensional contest, simply focusing on their offense. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, exploited seemingly every miscue, scoring five goals off turnovers.

The ugly, disjointed ... Read the full article

Lawrence Pilut hasn't played since Jan. 18. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres rookie Lawrence Pilut to return against Blackhawks

BUFFALO – Rejoice, Sabres fans. Rookie defenseman Lawrence Pilut will return tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks after sitting out two straight games as a healthy scratch.

Sabres coach Phil Housley changed his blue line the last two contests, inserting Matt Hunwick and Nathan Beaulieu while Pilut, 23, watched.

While Housley said he liked what the veterans showcased, Pilut, a slick youngster fans have been clamoring to see, will play his first game since Jan. 18.... Read the full article

Carter Hutton hasn't been winning a lot lately. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres goalie Carter Hutton having rough stretch after fast start

BUFFALO – On Dec. 13, goalie Carter Hutton made 25 saves in a 3-1 win over Arizona, improving to 13-8-1 in his first season with the Sabres.

At that point, Hutton’s campaign was going splendidly. The loquacious veteran had quickly become the No. 1 netminder the Sabres envisioned when they signed the career backup to a three-year, $8.25 million contract July 1.

But since then, Hutton, 33, has lost seven of his last eight starts ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith (left) celebrates his first NHL goal beside Kyle Okposo. ©2019, Hickling Images

C.J. Smith, Lawrence Pilut score first NHL goals, help Sabres beat Devils

BUFFALO – Early in Tuesday’s 5-1 victory, Sabres rookie C.J. Smith utilized his speed and cranked a shot off the post, a sign the speedy winger’s first NHL goal could be imminent.

Smith, 24, kept buzzing around the New Jersey Devils zone, creating more scoring chances.

“Got a little more confident tonight,” Smith said after scoring 4:14 into the second period in his sixth NHL game, a goal that put the Sabres ahead for good.... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart skated this morning. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Sam Reinhart game-time decision; Scott Wilson on waivers

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

C.J. Smith was piling up points in Rochester. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres look to C.J. Smith for spark

BUFFALO – Late in the 2016-17 season, the Sabres rewarded C.J. Smith with two NHL games after the forward left UMass Lowell following his junior year to sign an entry-level contract.

And then, Smith, 24, quietly went to the Rochester Americans, where he morphed into a top scorer and an intriguing prospect.

Still, the Sabres kept Smith in the AHL nearly a season and a half before finally summoning him this morning.... Read the full article

Goalie Carter Hutton eyes the puck Saturday. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres blow late lead, fall to Bruins in overtime

BUFFALO – By about halfway through the third period of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss, which inched the Boston Bruins within two points of the third-place Sabres, it appeared officials would let just about anything go.

At one point, 6-foot-9 defenseman Zdeno Chara wasn’t penalized for tackling 5-foot-8 Sabres winger Conor Sheary.

So when defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen went off for kneeing with the Sabres clinging to a 2-1 lead in the waning minutes, the capacity crowd ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark made 40 saves on Saturday. ©2018, Hickling Images

Linus Ullmark blanks Ducks, Sabres head into break on high note

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

Florida's Evgenii Dadonov goes in on a penalty shot against goalie Carter Hutton on Tuesday. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres blow third-period lead, lose to last-place Panthers

BUFFALO – Having earned 20 of a possible 22 points when leading after two periods entering Tuesday, the odds of the Sabres imploding against the last-place Florida Panthers seemed slim.

Ten weeks into the season, the Sabres had zero regulation losses – a terrific 9-0-2 mark – when up after 40 minutes.

So Tuesday’s 5-2 setback to the Panthers, a game the Sabres led 2-1 at the beginning of the third period, might be their ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe has missed eight games. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Jake McCabe close to returning; Phil Housley mixes up centers

BUFFALO – After skating with his teammates for the first time this morning since suffering an upper-body injury Nov. 29, Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe figures he can return by the weekend.

McCabe, who will miss his ninth game tonight, has skated eight of the last nine days, only taking Monday off.

While McCabe only has one team session under his belt – a light morning skate as the Sabres prepared for the Florida Panthers – ... Read the full article