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

Evan Rodrigues grew up cheering for the Maple Leafs. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Toronto debut special for Sabres rookie Evan Rodrigues

TORONTO – Growing up in Etobicoke, about a 20-minute drive from the Air Canada Centre, Alexander Mogilny’s talents mesmerized Buffalo Sabres rookie Evan Rodrigues.

By the early 2000s, long after his dynamic 76-goal season with the Sabres in 1992-93, Mogilny was still an electrifying presence for some strong Maple Leafs teams.

“He was always trying something new,” Rodrigues said Saturday prior to the Sabres’ 3-1 win against the Leafs. “He always made some real ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly always skates big minutes. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly knows he must stand out

TORONTO – Even in the best times, when center Ryan O’Reilly is scoring at a torrid clip and the Buffalo Sabres are winning, the eight-year veteran is notoriously hard on himself.

So naturally, Thursday’s 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, a game in which a late four-goal implosion doomed the Sabres, didn’t sit well with him.

“It was tough sleeping last night knowing that I could’ve been a lot better and impacted the game a ... Read the full article

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner tracks the puck in front of Toronto's Auston Matthews on Tuesday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner pulled in loss to Maple Leafs

TORONTO – Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner was livid, looking for someone or something to take his anger out on following a wretched 10-minute stretch.

So after getting yanked from Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Swede yelled at his own bench as he skated off the ice. Lehner then slammed his mask to the ground, looked down the bench and threw his glove off.

The Sabres have a lot of demoralizing ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (left) battles Auston Matthews on Tuesday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Maple Leafs have improved faster than Sabres

TORONTO – The Maple Leafs, like the Buffalo Sabres of a year ago, had to improve this season because 30th place was no longer their target.

After bottoming out on purpose, the Leafs added first overall pick Auston Matthews to their large stable of young talent. They also have Mike Babcock, arguably the NHL’s best coach.

Few, however, expected the upstart Leafs would be this good this soon. After Tuesday’s Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (right) has 10 goals and 17 points in 22 games this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jack Eichel, Leafs’ Auston Matthews meet with Toronto surging

TORONTO – The Maple Leafs, like the Buffalo Sabres of a year ago, had to improve this season because 30th place was no longer their target.

After bottoming out on purpose, the Leafs added first overall pick Auston Matthews to their large stable of young talent. They also have Mike Babcock, arguably the NHL’s best coach.

Few, however, expected the upstart Leafs would be this good this soon. Right now, having won eight of the ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (15) celebrates his second-period goal with Sam Reinhart on Monday afternoon. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres jump out to early lead, beat Stars

BUFFALO – Tyler Ennis’ slick return to the Sabres will rightfully grab most of the attention from Monday afternoon’s 4-1 win against the Dallas Stars.

The veteran scored 19 seconds into the Sabres’ third straight win at KeyBank Center, then followed up later in the period by nearly scoring a crazy lacrosse-style goal.

But contributions throughout the lineup helped them end a two-game losing streak that was magnified by Friday’s wretched 5-2 loss in Carolina.... Read the full article

Marcus Foligno has finally developed consitency. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

‘Deuce Line’ showcasing defense, offense for Sabres

OTTAWA – There’s no obvious nickname for the trio of Marcus Foligno, Johan Larsson and captain Brian Gionta, the Buffalo Sabres’ most consistent and sturdiest line in years.

The first letters of their names don’t form a witty acronym. They don’t have a common background.

They do, however, share a digit. Foligno wears No. 82, Larsson wears 22 and Gionta wears 12.

“I heard someone call us ‘Deuces’ because we all got 2 ... Read the full article

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner stops Toronto's Leo Komarov on Thursday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Goalie Frederik Andersen secures rare Leafs road win against Sabres

BUFFALO – With just under 12 minutes left and Toronto clinging to a one-goal lead, the Sabres, as they consistently did throughout Thursday’s 2-1 loss, pumped a string of shots on Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen in close.

After Andersen denied Sam Reinhart, Tyler Ennis backhanded a shot on net, grabbed his own rebound and released a quick wrist shot through traffic from the slot.

When Andersen’s quick left glove hand snared the puck, Ennis, ... Read the full article

Auston Matthews speaks at the NHL Combine last year in Buffalo. ©2016, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Leafs’ Auston Matthews ready for Sabres, Buffalo debut

BUFFALO – Auston Matthews first experienced the heated rivalry between the Sabres and Maple Leafs here at the NHL Draft, when the Toronto contingency wildly cheered the first overall pick and the hometown fans mercilessly booed their enemy.

“It’s a lot of booing,” Matthews told reporters Wednesday in Toronto after the Leafs prepared for tonight’s game inside KeyBank Center, the rookie’s first appearance here since getting selected June 24.

Expect another loud, bipartisan atmosphere throughout ... Read the full article