Jordan Leopold remains optimistic the Sabres will make the playoffs. ©2012, Janet Schultz, Olean Times Herald

Bad weekend might doom Sabres’ playoff hopes

BUFFALO – In less than 24 hours, the Sabres morphed from a postseason frontrunner to a likely bystander. Consecutive regulations losses can do that. An incredible nine-week run up the Eastern Conference possibly fell apart with one bad weekend.

Nonetheless, the ninth-place Sabres haven’t been eliminated yet. They still possess hope.

Three games remain, starting with tonight’s huge home finale against the hapless Maple Leafs, who downed them 4-3 on Saturday in Toronto.

The Sabres ... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres’ Foligno named NHL’s top rookie for March

BUFFALO – Forget about rookies, few established stars could match Marcus Foligno’s impact during a standout March.

The Sabres winger dazzled, compiling six goals, 11 points and gaudy plus-10 rating in 11 games beside Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford.

That dynamic output earned the 20-year-old the NHL’s Rookie of the Month.

“It’s amazing what has happened this month, not just for myself but the run the team’s gone on,” Foligno said Monday inside the First ... Read the full article

©2012

Loss to hapless Leafs hurts Sabres’ postseason hopes

TORONTO – This embarrassing Buffalo Sabres’ loss feels like a killer, one that could ultimately extinguish the playoffs hopes that seemed so promising less than two days ago.

Against the reeling, 14th-place Maple Leafs – a team that had dropped 11 consecutive games inside the Air Canada Centre and began Saturday on an awful 5-17-3 run – the Sabres fell 4-3 in their arch rival’s first home win since Feb. 6.

Ouch. If ... Read the full article

©2012

Pens hault scorching Sabres’ winning streak at 5 games

BUFFALO – At the 11:43 mark of the second period Friday, slick Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby zoomed into the Sabres zone, slowed down at the top of the right circle and dished perfectly across the ice to a streaking James Neal, who beat goalie Ryan Miller to make it 3-2 on the power play.

Fresh off five straight convincing wins, the Sabres looked unstoppable, like they might run the table and roar into the ... Read the full article

Superstar Sidney Crosby hasn't played in Buffalo since Dec. 11, 2010. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ critical late-season tilt against Pens could be wildly entertaining

BUFFALO – Give it a shot. Try drawing up a better late-season NHL matchup. The Sabres’ tilt against the powerhouse Pittsburgh Penguins tonight could make for a wildly entertaining three hours inside the First Niagara Center.

This one promises to be action-packed and fun, folks.

The scorching Sabres, having climbed into eighth place Tuesday, are roaring toward another unlikely playoff appearance. They’ve won five straight games and seven of the last nine, piling up goals ... Read the full article

Alex Ovechkin's Capitals have 84 points. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ ‘biggest game’ of season could vault them into playoff spot

BUFFALO – In reality, it’s a single game for the Sabres, one of 82 regular-season contests. Tonight’s anticipated eight-versus-nine tilt in Washington is potentially worth two points for them, just like any other game.

If the Sabres win, break their tie with the Capitals (84 points) and move into eighth place, they could quickly lose the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot again. Don’t forget, they stayed there less than a day after grabbing it Saturday.... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres’ Miller named March’s second star

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, who led the NHL with four wins thanks to a gaudy 1.26 goals-against average and .956 save percentage, has been named the league’s second star for the week ending March 25.

Miller allowed only five goals during the week and just two during his last three starts. He recorded his career-high sixth shutout in a 3-0 win Wednesday over Montreal.

“It’s not something you do on your own,” Miller ... Read the full article

©2012

Scorching Sabres down Wild, roar into eighth place

BUFFALO – Beaten down, broken and seemingly finished at several points this season, the Sabres’ tight 3-1 triumph over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday – their 18th win in 28 tries – bumped the scorching club into the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.

On Feb. 17, the Sabres fell into the cellar, nine points out of the last postseason spot.

If the Sabres, who lead ninth-place Washington by two points (84-82), hold on, the ... Read the full article

Mike Weber was playing regularly before being scratched Wednesday. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ deep defense corps gives them options

BUFFALO – The plan’s to get Mike Weber some ice again soon, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. With seven healthy defensemen, someone had to sit Wednesday, so Weber, a team-worst minus-19, watched the 3-0 win over Montreal after playing 44 straight games.

Ruff could utilize all seven tonight in New York against the Rangers and drop a forward. He could also scratch Weber and skate him Saturday at home versus the Minnesota Wild.

Despite the ... Read the full article

©2012

Miller’s shutout over Habs has Sabres sniffing playoff spot

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ shocking resurgence – one that’s vaulted them from the Eastern Conference basement to a points tie with eighth-place Washington in 33 days – can be attributed to several factors.

The banged-up defense corps has stayed healthy and locked down. Several slumping stars have started scoring again, giving the team a secondary scoring attack. A few youngsters have contributed immediately upon their arrival from Rochester.

Most notably, though, Ryan Miller began playing ... Read the full article