Jeff Skinner tries to score on New York Islanders goalie Robin Lehner on Tuesday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Timely goals, strong defense help Sabres down Islanders

BUFFALO – Suddenly, after weeks of regularly shirking their duties and allowing four or five goals a game, the Sabres have started clamping down defensively.

The results? Two wins over a three-game stretch while giving up just five goals. Following some downright awful defensive displays earlier in their seven-game home stand, the Sabres have finally started showcasing structure again.

Tuesday’s 3-1 victory against the New York Islanders doesn’t rank among their most exciting triumphs this ... Read the full article

Tage Thompson also sat out earlier in the season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres notes: Tage Thompson’s benching could be short

BUFFALO – This is probably only a temporary benching. Sabres coach Phil Housley plans to give winger Tage Thompson another opportunity soon.

But for the first time since Nov. 8 and the eighth time this season, Thompson, 21, sat out as a healthy scratch Thursday.

Center Johan Larsson replaced him for the Sabres’6-5 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Thompson, a big piece of the Ryan O’Reilly trade with the St. Louis Blues, had played ... Read the full article

Tage Thompson has scored seven goals this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Tage Thompson to sit as healthy scratch

BUFFALO – This is probably only a temporary benching. Sabres coach Phil Housley plans to give winger Tage Thompson another opportunity soon.

But for the first time since Nov. 8 and the eighth time this season, Thompson, 21, will sit out a game as a healthy scratch tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. Center Johan Larsson will replace him.

Thompson, a big piece of the Ryan O’Reilly trade with the St. Louis Blues, has played the ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner (53) is back with Jack Eichel. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres hope to build streak by beating pesky Hurricanes

BUFFALO – The Sabres, who enjoyed a 10-game winning streak in November, haven’t won consecutive tilts since Dec. 11-13.

Fresh off Tuesday’s 5-4 shootout win over the Minnesota Wild, the Sabres have an opportunity to build something again. Of course, to get a streak going, the Sabres must knock off the Carolina Hurricanes, Thursday’s opponent at KeyBank Center.

The Hurricanes, who have as many points, 58, as the Sabres, have beaten the Sabres seven straight ... Read the full article

Marcus Foligno is in his second season with the Wild. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Marcus Foligno enjoying tenure with Wild

BUFFALO – This trip was more relaxing. A year ago, Marcus Foligno said he experienced “a lot of nerves” visiting here as an opponent.

“Now it’s just another road game,” said the Buffalo-born Foligno, who’s in his second season with the Minnesota Wild after spending six years with the Sabres.

He added: “It’s always special to come back to Buffalo. You get a little bit excited.”

Foligno, 27, has settled in nicely with the Wild, ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith has compiled 41 points in 41 AHL games this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Reeling Sabres showcase new lines, defense pairs

BUFFALO – Sooner or later, coach Phil Housley had to make some significant changes, right? The Sabres have fallen from first overall to three points out of a playoff spot.

Having compiled an awful 8-14-4 mark in their last 26 games, their marathon slump has surpassed the two-month mark. In their last 10 outings, they’re 3-7.

In recent games, the Sabres have shown little interest in playing defense and struggled to score goals. Their power ... Read the full article

The Sabres claimed Remi Elie off waivers in October. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres waive Remi Elie

BUFFALO – The Sabres waived winger Remi Elie this morning.

Elie, 23, isn’t practicing with his teammate inside HarborCenter, meaning if he clears, he could be bound for the Rochester Americans.

Sunday update: Elie has cleared, according to reports.

The Sabres claimed Elie from the Dallas Stars in October. The former second-round pick has played 16 games this season, including the last two, compiling one assist.... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt has strong chemistry with his linemates. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Casey Mittelstadt brimming with confidence

BUFFALO – One of the best stretches of Casey Mittelstadt’s 57-game NHL career – two goals and four points over seven recent contests – hasn’t boosted the Sabres rookie’s confidence.

“I don’t think I’m more confident or anything,” Mittelstadt said prior to Friday’s 7-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks inside KeyBank Center. “I don’t struggle in that department.”

Mittelstadt, 20, doesn’t lack confidence.

“I know what I’m capable of doing,” the slick center said.... 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