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

Brady Austin played his 200th AHL game Friday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Impressive early action earned Sabres’ Brady Austin another look

BUFFALO – For the second time this week, the Sabres have recalled Brady Austin from the Rochester Americans. Days ago, the defenseman was an unknown prospect, a former seventh-round pick 200 games into his pro career.

But two games into his NHL career, Austin, 23, has already turned some heads, utilizing his 6-foot-4, 230-pound body while showcasing notable speed for a big man.

That’s why the Sabres summoned him again this morning for tonight’s tilt ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner makes a save Tuesday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Rasmus Ristolainen ejected in Sabres’ loss to Penguins

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen had a split-second decision to make as Pittsburgh superstar Sidney Crosby dished the puck up to Jake Guentzel near their blue line early in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Penguins.

Ristolainen could lay back and play it safe, or he could assume the short pass would be completed and step up and throttle Guentzel.

The Finn went for the hit, but the pass was intercepted by teammate Zemgus Girgensons. ... 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

Anders Nilsson has played 22 games this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson to start

BUFFALO – Some quick updates from KeyBank Center, where the Sabres close a back-to-back set tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets:

Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson will start, just his third nod in the last 16 games. The Swede is 9-9-4 with a 2.75 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage in 22 games this season.

Starting goalie Robin Lehner, who made 35 saves in Friday’s 4-3 loss in Columbus, has been slumping. Since ... 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

Robin Lehner will make his 47th start tonight. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres try to rebound from ’emotional hit’ against Flyers

BUFFALO – For a seventh-place team, the Sabres have showcased a lot of resiliency this season, rebounding from tough losses with some notable victories against the NHL’s top clubs.

Fresh off Sunday’s demoralizing 4-3 loss in Pittsburgh, a game in which they blew a three-goal lead, the Sabres have another opportunity tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers at KeyBank Center.

“It’s going to be the tale of the game, is us rebounding from the emotional ... Read the full article

Dmitry Kulikov (77) battles Tampa Bay's J.T. Brown on Saturday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Justin Falk in for injured Dmitry Kulikov

PITTSBURGH – A month ago, the Buffalo Sabres awarded defenseman Justin Falk a one-year contract extension because the 28-year-old, a quiet offseason addition, provided some strong depth as the injuries ravaged the blue line.

Then the defense corps got healthy, leaving Falk the odd man out again for seven games.

But with defenseman Dmitry Kulikov out with an upper-body injury for this afternoon’s tilt against the Penguins, Falk will play his first game since Feb. ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner makes a save amid a flurry Saturday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner’s shootout struggles continue in loss to Lightning

BUFFALO – To Sabres goalie Robin Lehner, shootouts are “different.” Players have all the time they need, allowing them to speed up, slow down and try things that wouldn’t be allowed in regular play.

“It’s not hockey,” Lehner said following Saturday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning before 18,935 fans inside KeyBank Center.

It might not be regular hockey, but it still counts, and Lehner has been brutal in shootouts all season, ... Read the full article