Evander Kane celebrates his first-period goal Saturday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres silence Toronto fans, beat Maple Leafs

BUFFALO – The 11,000 or so Toronto Maple Leafs fans who invaded a packed KeyBank Center on Saturday – they greatly outnumbered the home portion – started making their presence known about 20 minutes before the opening faceoff of the Sabres’ entertaining 5-2 win.

This visit from the upstart Leafs was different than recent ones throughout their sorry run of futility. For the first time in a long time, Toronto is good, filled with prime ... Read the full article

Nick Deslauriers has a two-game point streak. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Nick Deslauriers finally playing, contributing

BUFFALO – When Sabres coach Dan Bylsma charged Nick Deslauriers with creating some energy, the gritty winger’s first instinct, of course, was to fight.

But these days, those opportunities are scarce. Deslauriers has only fought four times this season. He certainly wasn’t going to find one enjoying a rare shift on the first line with the listless Sabres down three goals Saturday.

“I would’ve loved to get a fight there, but I don’t think ... Read the full article

Evander Kane (9) tries to stuff the puck past Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo on Saturday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres roar back from early deficit, beat Blue Jackets

BUFFALO – As if the season-killing streak the Sabres have recently endured wasn’t bad enough, it looked like they might hit rock bottom again Saturday.

Early on, the upstart Columbus Blue Jackets simply outclassed the Sabres, opening a 3-0 first-period lead.

Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson, so good at home this season, performed terribly for 20 minutes. Defenseman Jake McCabe, one of the steadiest Sabres all season, struggled through perhaps the worst period of ... Read the full article

Justin Bailey has played 19 straight games. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Justin Bailey has opportunity to stay

BUFFALO – Right now, thanks to his torrid goal-scoring run in the AHL and some injuries with the big club, Sabres winger Justin Bailey has the best opportunity of his young career to stick in the NHL for good.

For the last five weeks, the speedy Bailey, 21, has enjoyed regular duty, playing 19 straight games. Some contests the Williamsville native has skated on a top line.

“It’s a really big one,” Sabres coach Dan ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (center), Jake McCabe and Evander Kane didn't celebrate much after Eichel's second goal. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Flyers throttle Sabres: ‘We weren’t ready to play’

BUFFALO – It’s happening. Less than two years into his career, center Jack Eichel, the ultra-talented youngster the Sabres gave up an entire season to draft, is morphing into an offensive superstar.

Eichel, 20, is on fire. Since Feb. 1, Eichel leads the NHL with 24 points. With two goals and three more points Tuesday, he extended his career-long point streak to 11 games. The youngster now has 101 NHL points in just 127 ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe (29) knows a few more wins would have the Sabres in the thick of the playoff race. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Reeling Sabres still learning to win

BUFFALO – In what has become another disappointing season destined to end without a playoff appearance, the Sabres have endured 39 defeats. A few have been blowouts, but the club has usually been highly competitive, losing 20 one-goal affairs.

The Sabres have taken leads deep into games before melting down, losing seven contests in which they were up entering the third period.

Want a telltale sign of a team learning how to win? Try an ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen wasn't happy about Sunday's loss. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Loss to Penguins still painful for Sabres

BUFFALO – It lingered. This morning, less than a day after the Sabres imploded again, blowing an early three-goal lead, the 4-3 loss in Pittsburgh still stung.

“This game should be painful, one we got to learn and get better from as a result,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said this afternoon following a team meeting inside KeyBank Center.

Remember, the Sabres, whose playoff hopes are hanging by a thread, have frittered away third-period leads and ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel wants the Sabres to play more aggresively. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres blow lead, lose late to Penguins

PITTSBURGH – For one period Sunday, everything went right for the Buffalo Sabres.

They jumped out to a seemingly commanding lead, scoring three times by the 18:07 mark. The Penguins, meanwhile, couldn’t beat Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson, who stopped all 13 first-period shots. One Penguins goal was called back following a review. They also hit a post.

Still, a 3-0 advantage hardly felt commanding.

The reeling Sabres have a penchant for blowing late leads. The ... Read the full article

Evan Rodrigues has played 15 NHL games. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Evan Rodrigues earning keep

BUFFALO – On a team featuring 11 veterans earning more than $3 million, Evan Rodrigues, a rookie 15 games into his NHL career, was arguably the Sabres’ best player during two wretched road losses last weekend.

Let that sink in.

“It’s a little disappointing Rodrigues is one of our best players,” Sabres general manager Tim Murray said Wednesday. “It’s great for him. But I’m not sure that’s what should’ve happened in those two games.”... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo (21) hurt his ribs Thursday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo week-to-week; Nick Deslauriers moves into lineup

BUFFALO – With leading scorer Kyle Okposo week-to-week after hurting his ribs, instead of recalling a forward, the Sabres will dress Nick Deslauriers for tonight’s tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Deslauriers, a healthy scratch the last four games, has zero points this season. Okposo has 19 goals and 43 points.

The Sabres can’t exactly fill Okposo’s void.

Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said Okposo has the same injury winger Evander Kane suffered opening night, meaning ... Read the full article