Jeff Skinner (53) and Alex Tuch (89) celebrate one of Skinner’s third-period goals Friday. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

Wild finish: Jeff Skinner’s heroics help Sabres rally for thrilling win

BUFFALO – When the Sabres signed winger Jeff Skinner to an eight-year, $72 million contract, they envisioned dynamic efforts like Friday’s late two-goal outburst in a thrilling 5-4 won over the Minnesota Wild.

After the Sabres blew a third-period lead, Skinner scored twice in a span of 4:40, capitalizing on an odd bounce off the half wall at 12:20 before following his own rebound to the net at 16:40.

“Skinner, obviously, rose to the occasion ... Read the full article

John Hayden skates off the ice following one of his fights this season. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: John Hayden thriving in gritty fourth-line role

BUFFALO – Barring injury, winger John Hayden will establish a new career high in games played later this month. After bouncing around the NHL, often as a spare forward, the Yale product has earned regular duty throughout most his first season with the Sabres.

Hayden, 27, has thrived under Don Granato, a coach he knows well from their days together at the U.S. National Team Development Program and later with the Chicago Blackhawks.

“Donny’s made ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons has missed the last 13 games. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

Zemgus Girgensons skates with Sabres, nearing return from injury

BUFFALO – Among all the blue and white on the ice for the Sabres’ optional skate this morning, one jersey, the gold non-contact one worn by winger Zemgus Girgensons, stood out.

For the first time since Jan. 25, Girgensons, 28, skated with his teammates. A lower-body injury has sidelined the Latvian, an alternate captain, 13 straight games and 18 of the last 19 contests. While he won’t play tonight against the Minnesota Wild or ... Read the full article

Jacob Bryson just moved up to the top defense pair. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Jacob Bryson elevating game to new level

BUFFALO – Three weeks ago, as the Sabres began rotating defensemen, coach Don Granato told general manager Kevyn Adams he believed watching a game would help Jacob Bryson.

Getting scratched wasn’t a punishment for poor play. Granato simply wanted to utilize his entire blue line, so for a seven-game stretch, four defensemen – Bryson, Robert Hagg, Mark Pysyk and Mattias Samuelsson – moved in an out.

When Bryson, 24, sat out Feb. 10, he ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has started five straight games. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres showcase growing confidence, maturity, beat Wild in shootout

In the not-so-recent past, the Buffalo Sabres might’ve lost a game like Thursday’s 3-2 shootout win over the first-place Minnesota Wild.

The Sabres trailed 2-1 after two periods because Kirill Kaprizov scored a late, potentially deflating goal. They outshot the Wild 21-6 in the first yet ended the period down 1-0. And then there was the noisy crowd of 18,022 fans inside Xcel Energy Center. The Sabres, of course, have often fared poorly in hostile ... Read the full article

Alex Tuch joined Buffalo last month. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Alex Tuch practices in contact role, close to playing again

Buffalo Sabres winger Alex Tuch went through his first full-contact practice Wednesday in Minnesota and is nearing a return to game action, coach Don Granato told The Buffalo News.

Tuch, who underwent offseason shoulder surgery while a member of the Vegas Golden Knights, started practicing in a non-contact role Nov. 29.

“He is close,” Granato said following Wednesday’s practice. “He’s going to go through a couple days of contact and we’ll get a ... Read the full article

Eric Staal enjoyed his four seasons in Minnesota. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Eric Staal shocked by trade to Sabres, excited to play for GM Kevyn Adams

The friendship between Buffalo Sabres newcomer Eric Staal and general manager Kevyn Adams dates back 17 years, to their days as teammates on the Carolina Hurricanes.

Back then, Adams, a veteran, often invited the budding superstar to his family’s house for dinner.

“He was very good to me as a young player in Carolina,” Staal said on a Zoom call Friday “I was at his house numerous times as a young guy. We just got ... Read the full article

Eric Staal has remained a productive player. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Trading for Eric Staal should be morale boost for Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres endured a rough summer before Wednesday’s acquisition of center Eric Staal from the Minnesota Wild. Gutting the front office three months ago lowered expectations for what has become perhaps the NHL’s most dysfunctional franchise.

So sending forward Marcus Johansson to the Wild for Staal, 35, should ignite a little optimism within the team and its beleaguered fan base.

In his first trade as general manager, Kevyn Adams addressed a major hole – ... Read the full article

Eric Staal has enjoyed a long career. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres trade Marcus Johansson to Wild for Eric Staal

Kevyn Adams made his first trade as Buffalo Sabres general manager today, sending forward Marcus Johansson to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for center Eric Staal.

Staal will likely be utilized as the No. 2 center, a position the Sabres have struggled to fill since dealing Ryan O’Reilly to the St. Louis Blues in 2018.

Johansson, a winger most of his NHL career, centered the second line much of the 2019-20 season, his first in ... Read the full article

Rasmus Dahlin (26) battles Minnesota’s Zach Parise on Tuesday with teammate Brandon Montour nearby. ©2019, Hickling Images

Trade could be coming for hapless Sabres following ugly loss to Wild

BUFFALO – A week before Thanksgiving, the same team that started the season 8-1-1 has already fallen apart. Right now, having lost eight of their last nine games, the Sabres are reeling.

The Sabres can deny it all they want, but it feels eerily similar to last season, when they won 10 straight games in November before imploding and missing the playoffs.

“Listen, we’re not talking about last year,” captain Jack Eichel said following the ... Read the full article