Evander Kane (9) battles Chicago's Duncan Keith on Sunday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres fall to Blackhawks, still begin bye feeling good

BUFFALO – It’s funny what a short three-game winning streak and few strong weeks can do for an NHL team.

After being given up for dead earlier this month, the Sabres have roared back into the playoff race, inching to within two points of the Atlantic Division’s final playoff spot and the wild card by Sunday afternoon.

Sure, clubs with games in hand stand between the Sabres and those coveted spots. Still, they’re back in ... Read the full article

Matt Moulson is at his best around the net. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Matt Moulson moving around Sabres lineup

BUFFALO – Early in Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, Sabres winger Matt Moulson skated as a fourth-liner beside fill-in center Nick Deslauriers and Tyler Ennis.

But Moulson, as he has all season, didn’t stay with the same linemates long inside KeyBank Center.

Jack Eichel filled in for Deslauriers, a winger with zero points this season. Moulson also played on the top power-play unit, a promotion with winger Sam Reinhart out.

Moulson, 33, has ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel contributed to the Sabres' win Saturday afternoon. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Stars front and center in Sabres’ win over Blues

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel set up a nifty goal to Nick Baptiste shortly after the Sabres fell behind 91 seconds into Saturday afternoon’s tilt against the St. Louis Blues. Evander Kane scored his 20th goal, continuing his torrid stretch. Ryan O’Reilly netted the eventual winner on the power play.

Then goalie Robin Lehner dazzled late, making 16 of his 37 saves in the third period as the Blues blitzed the Sabres.

In the Sabres’ 3-2 ... Read the full article

Nick Baptiste beats St. Louis goalie Jake Allen on Saturday afternoon. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Nick Baptiste scores early in return to Sabres

BUFFALO – A positive trend has developed in the last few months for the Sabres. Each time they recall one of their forward prospects from the Rochester Americans, the youngsters make a strong case to stick around.

Rookies Justin Bailey, William Carrier and Evan Rodrigues have all seized their opportunities and started earning regular NHL duty.

After speedy winger Nick Baptiste’s impressive performance in Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 win against the St. Louis Blues – ... Read the full article

Cody Franson has missed four games. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Cody Franson ready to play; Derek Grant out

BUFFALO – Some quick updates from HarborCenter, where the Sabres practiced briefly today following Thursday’s 2-0 win over Colorado:

Defenseman Cody Franson, out the last four games with a bruised left foot, pronounced himself ready to play after practicing again today, his third straight day on the ice.

“It was supposed to be a two- to three-week thing, and I think we made it almost seven days,” Franson said. “I feel good and ... Read the full article

Evander Kane (9) keeps the puck away from Colorado's Carl Soderberg on Thursday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres buckle down, beat Avalanche

BUFFALO – At times, Thursday’s 2-0 win probably felt a bit unsettling for the Sabres. The woeful Colorado Avalanche, the NHL’s worst team, isn’t just bad.

The club’s on pace to be one of the worst this century.

So it was hardly surprising the Sabres mostly had their way with the Avalanche. Still, after two periods, they had a 21-11 shot advantage but only a 1-0 lead thanks to Sam Reinhart’s power-play goal.

Colorado, which ... Read the full article

Nikita Zadorov has endured a rough season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Avalanche NHL’s worst

BUFFALO – The ineptitude of some of the worst NHL teams this century – the 1999-00 Atlanta Thrashers and the 2013-14 and 2014-15 Sabres, for example – can easily be explained.

Yes, the Thrashers were terrible even by low expansion standards, earning only 39 points. But it was their first year. What can you expect?

The Sabres mustered 52 and 54 points because they fielded weak teams and sold off their best assets to secure ... Read the full article

Evander Kane (9) skates away from Anaheim's Josh Manson last Thursday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Thursdays rough for Sabres this season

BUFFALO – Here’s a head-scratcher: the Sabres, 24-23-10 this season, are 1-10-2 on Thursdays.

“I’m aware of it,” coach Dan Bylsma said this morning after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s tilt against the hapless Colorado Avalanche at KeyBank Center. “I’m well aware of it.

How is that possible? The Sabres are 10-3-3 on Tuesdays.

After some emotional, hard-fought wins on Tuesdays, the Sabres have enjoyed the next day off. Perhaps the Sabres are still drained ... Read the full article

Nick Deslauriers (44) fights Jared Boll last Thursday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres heavyweight Nick Deslauriers wants to fight

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Nick Deslauriers can’t hide the disappointment in his voice discussing his difficulty finding fight partners this season.

The Sabres’ top heavyweight has only fought three times in 29 appearances entering tonight’s tilt against the hapless Colorado Avalanche at KeyBank Center.

“I’ve been trying to get some,” Deslauriers said Saturday in Toronto. “I haven’t got that many fights.”

Deslauriers, 25, didn’t fight until Jan. 10, his 19th game after a knee injury ... Read the full article

Evander Kane celebrates his second goal Saturday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Evander Kane helps push Sabres past Maple Leafs

TORONTO – For nine weeks, as Evander Kane quietly morphed into one of the NHL’s hottest players, the Buffalo Sabres winger did most of his scoring on the third line, without the benefit of a top center.

So what could Kane do if he, say, played regularly with a slick pivot? Well, Saturday at the Air Canada Centre, Kane gave a pretty good demonstration.

Teamed up with center Jack Eichel again, Kane scored twice in ... Read the full article