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Robin Lehner has looked like a No. 1 goalie all season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Robin Lehner grabbed the new mask he plans to debut for Military Appreciation Night, showed the soldiers and camouflage painted on the front and then turned it around.

At the bottom of the back plate, the Swede had “Trump” painted on with a small picture of the President-Elect.

“Got a little support for my man Trump here,” Lehner said Thursday after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s tilt against the New Jersey Devils inside KeyBank Center. “It’s going to …

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Tyson Strachan played a career-high 46 games with the Sabres in 2014-15. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Tyson Strachan’s only human, you know. So while the veteran said his confidence never wavered looking for work during the summer, thoughts about his uncertain future crept into his head.

As the weeks dragged on without a contract, the gritty former Sabres defenseman wondered if he might have to play overseas or complete his degree at Ohio State University.

“I’d be lying to say those things don’t come into your mind,” Strachan said earlier this month inside KeyBank Center. “Obviously, …

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William Carrier skates Thursday with a parachute a development camp. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – By around mid-March, it looked imminent. William Carrier, the often overshadowed Sabres prospect, was about to earn his first NHL recall from the Rochester Americans.

In a 21-game stretch, Carrier scored nine goals and 20 points. Before his torrid run, Carrier had compiled only 11 goals and 31 points in his first 94 AHL contests.

“One good game, two good games – it just starts rolling out,” Carrier said Thursday following a development camp session inside HarborCenter. “Confidence is a …

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Alexander Nylander hasn't worn a Sabres jersey on the ice yet. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Watching a top prospect skate in a Sabres jersey for the first time, even in a development camp setting, is a special experience for fans always eager to welcome new talent.

For the next six days, starting with today’s session inside HarborCenter, the Sabres’ rabid fan base will receive its first glimpses of Swedish winger Alexander Nylander, the eighth overall pick June 24 at the First Niagara Center, sporting blue and gold on the ice.

Nylander, of course, will be …

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Cal O'Reilly scored twice Thursday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Given Ryan O’Reilly’s wide smile and enthusiastic voice talking about his older brother Cal’s exploits in the Sabres’ 4-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs, it almost looked and sounded like he had just enjoyed the game of his life Thursday.

But Ryan O’Reilly was just excited to be a part of the first two-goal outing of Cal’s 141-game NHL career.

That Ryan earned the secondary assist on Cal’s first goal – it was the first time they ever connected …

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Chad Johnson has won seven of his last eight starts. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Having traveled around the NHL in a secondary role for years, Sabres goalie Chad Johnson usually gets pegged as a career backup.

Johnson, after all, is just months away from turning 30 years old. Goalies usually grab the No. 1 job by their mid-20s. The Calgary native has played for five teams, including four in the last three years. He had never played more than 27 games in a season before this year.

But in just his third full campaign, …

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Sabres goalie Chad Johnson stops Anaheim's Corey Perry on Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Chad Johnson will garner the headlines from the Sabres’ 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks, and he should. The goalie dazzled Thursday, stopping a career-high 44 shots, a franchise-record for a shutout.

But the Sabres received contributions throughout the lineup in their third win in four games and 14th overall this season.

The fourth line, so bad last game, was the Sabres’ best trio for chunks of the night, creating defenseman’s Jake McCabe’s second-period goal. Evander Kane, who had gone …

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Los Angeles goalie Jhonas Enroth enjoyed his time in Buffalo. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Los Angeles Kings goalie Jhonas Enroth takes his fondest memories of his five year-run with the Sabres from the franchise’s darkest days.

Throughout all the losing and turmoil last season, he tended some of his best goal ever, briefly becoming the Sabres’ most valuable player.

Sure, Enroth detested losing. He usually looked beaten down after losses. Still, to the Swede, who briefly lived his dream of becoming the Sabres’ No. 1 goalie, some of those memories are special.

“It’s a season …

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Lindy Ruff's Stars lead the NHL with 15 wins. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – A scorching start buoyed by the NHL’s best offense. Young superstar talent. Terrific depth.

When did the Dallas Stars’ Lindy Ruff have all that before? Nine years ago, when Ruff coached a slick young Sabres team to the 2006-07 Eastern Conference final following a 113-point regular season.

Back then, Ruff had a stacked club led by co-captains Daniel Briere and Chris Drury and young talent like Brian Campbell, Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek.

These days, Ruff has reigning scoring …

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Ramsus Ristolaine (55) scored twice Saturday afternoon. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – There were still 16.8 seconds left on the clock, but Rasmus Ristolainen figured what the heck, his second goal of the game, the winner in the Sabres’ exciting 3-2 victory against goalie Ryan Miller’s Vancouver Canucks, needed to be celebrated wildly.

So the defenseman skated to center ice, slid down on his knees and yelled out as the capacity crowd of 19,070 fans roared Saturday afternoon. Tyler Ennis, whose dynamic effort created the goal, hugged Ristolainen, dragging him past …

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