two games left

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Makarov

The Sabres selected Nick Baptiste in the third round in 2013. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

Joining a loaded Erie Otters team featuring Connor McDavid and two other slick 100-point scorers earlier this season has allowed Buffalo Sabres prospect Nick Baptiste to sharpen and expand his game before he begins his pro career.

The Ontario Hockey League powerhouse doesn’t rely on the winger’s offense.

The Otters have McDavid, hockey’s biggest prospect in a decade; Dylan Strome, the league’s leading scorer; and Alex DeBrincat, who quietly scored 51 goals, more than McDavid or Strome.

Sure, adding Baptiste, who scored 45 …

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Marcus Foligno has been playing big minutes. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – For about 24 hours, Marcus Foligno enjoyed the family’s bragging rights. The Sabres winger felt good after scoring twice Friday, his first goals in 24 games.

Then Foligno’s older brother, Nick, a breakout star with the Columbus Blue Jackets, outdid him Saturday, scoring his first NHL hat trick and hitting the prestigious 30-goal, 70-point marks.

“He had to go out and one-up me,” Marcus Foligno joked Monday prior to the Sabres’ 4-3 win against the Carolina Hurricanes inside the First …

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Andrey Makarov played well in his NHL debut Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Finally – or perhaps a more appropriate word would be “mercifully” – the end of the Sabres’ long, trying season is in sight.

Three games are left. A regulation loss tonight at home to the Carolina Hurricanes or later this week will cement 30th place, ending probably the oddest campaign in the franchise’s 45-year history.

Hours after the Sabres’ 3-0 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday, the 29th-place Arizona Coyotes beat the San Jose Sharks 5-3, moving them …

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Bryan Trottier is one of the New York Islanders' all-time greats. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – New York Islanders legend Bryan Trottier remembers the noise. The roar inside Nassau Coliseum would become deafening, funneling down from the stands to the ice.

“To the point where you’re reading lips,” Trottier, a Sabres assistant coach, said Friday. “Until you actually experience it, it’s just fantastic.”

The Isles are moving to bigger and better digs 24 miles away next season, the shiny Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Trottier, a Hall of Famer who won four straight Stanley Cups with the …

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Matt Moulson (26) could miss tonight's game. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Winger Matt Moulson woke up this morning feeling ill. Meanwhile, defenseman Mike Weber woke up feeling sore.

The Sabres don’t have an extra forward. Rochester is playing tonight in Iowa, so recalling one for tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks won’t be easy.

What will the Sabres do?

“That’s a big question,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

The Sabres haven’t ruled Moulson out. Defenseman Tyson Strachan practiced in Weber’s spot beside Rasmus Ristolainen, who missed …

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T.J. Brennan played 21 games with the Sabres. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – In the beginning, former Sabres prospect T.J. Brennan followed a normal path to the NHL. The high-scoring defenseman developed four seasons in the AHL before briefly cracking the Sabres two years ago.

Back then, Brennan, who grew up in New Jersey playing lacrosse, didn’t fully understand what it took to make the NHL.

“I’ve always been kind of learn as I go,” Brennan said Wednesday prior to the Sabres’ 4-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs inside the First Niagara …

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Tyler Ennis (63) jostles with Florida's Brian Campbell earlier this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Sometimes, Sabres winger Tyler Ennis said, he has to realize he’s only 5-foot-5 and not a 6-foot-3 behemoth. Trying to thump a larger opponent usually isn’t the best idea.

Ennis, who’s listed at 5-foot-9, went after someone bigger Thursday and paid the price, suffering an upper-body injury. The Sabres’ top offensive threat missed two games but will return tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Maybe I got to tone down the hits,” Ennis said this morning inside the First Niagara …

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Sabres goalie Anders Lindback tries to stop New Jersey's Steve Bernier (18) with Andre Benoit's (61) help March 20. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Just like that, 29th place – a precarious spot that wouldn’t guarantee the Sabres either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, the mega-draft prospects they covet – is back in play.

Sorry, fans, the race isn’t over yet. The Sabres’ 4-1 victory Monday in Arizona moved them to within four points of the Coyotes, who looked awful throughout the night.

The 30th-place Sabres also have a game in hand, so after tonight’s tilt against the hapless Toronto Maple Leafs inside the …

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Andrey Makarov has never played an NHL game. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

The Buffalo Sabres recalled goalie Andrey Makarov from Rochester this afternoon, hours before their road game against the Arizona Coyotes.

The 21-year-old Russian is 15-17-3 with a 2.98 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage in 37 games with the AHL Americans.

Sabres goalie Matt Hackett, who relieved Anders Lindback in Saturday’s 5-3 loss in Colorado, has been banged up and feeling sore after games. It’s unclear if Hackett’s injured.

Makarov has been recalled before but has never played an NHL game.

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The Sabres could call on Matt Hackett often down the stretch. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – In less than a year, Sabres prospect Matt Hackett morphed from Ryan Miller’s possible heir apparent into an afterthought, the fifth goalie on the rebuilding team’s depth chart.

Hackett struggled last year in Rochester, posting career-worst numbers. Then the 25-year-old tore up his knee during a late-season recall, shelving him for nine months.

As Hackett rehabbed, Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth battled for the Sabres’ starting job. In Rochester, Nathan Lieuwen and Andrey Makarov tried to build off of strong …

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