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New Jersey Devils

Anders Nilsson makes one of his 41 saves Friday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have lost a lot of games in the past three-plus seasons – 176, to be exact – so they’ve experienced about every kind of defeat imaginable.

So, yes, an overtime penalty shot has victimized them.

But a high-scoring forward scored that goal on the road. How about a defenseman with 37 goals in 11 seasons doing that on your home ice?

That happened in Friday’s 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils, a contest clinched by Andy Greene’s penalty …

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Justin Falk spend part of last season in Columbus. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Down one day, up the next. Repeat for six months. For the last three seasons, Sabres newcomer Justin Falk has served as a depth defenseman for three organizations, constantly shuttling between the NHL and AHL.

“Over the last two or three years I’ve hopped back and forth quite a bit,” Falk, 28, said after the Sabres recalled him this morning. “Just another day for me to go about my business. It’s just a different league, a higher-up league.”

With defenseman …

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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
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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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Ray Sheppard scored 38 goals as a rookie in 1987-88. ©2016, Rochester Americans
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – As Sabres rookies Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart put the finishing touches on two outstanding, high-scoring seasons, one name from the team’s past keeps popping up: Ray Sheppard.

Each week, it seems, the young forwards become the team’s first rookies to reach or approach milestones since Sheppard, who scored 38 goals and 65 points in 74 games in 1987-88 before fizzling out and re-emerging as one of the NHL’s most dangerous scorers.

Sheppard’s name has also been coming up, ironically, …

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Ryan O'Reilly was hurt Saturday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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Buffalo Sabres centers Jack Eichel and Ryan O’Reilly are both questionable for tonight’s road game against the New Jersey Devils, coach Dan Bylsma told reporters in Newark.

Bylsma said Eichel enjoyed a maintenance from practice Monday. O’Reilly, meanwhile, rested something he hurt in Saturday’s 4-3 win against the New York Rangers.

Bylsma said he expects one to play “for sure.” That’s likely Eichel.

The Sabres could recall a forward, Bylsma said.

Update: The Sabres recalled winger Justin Bailey on Tuesday morning. Bailey, 20, has …

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Ryan O'Reilly (90) skates Tuesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – New Devils regime. Same boring style.

Some things never change.

Even with Lou Lamoriello, the architect of those highly successful but oh-so-dull New Jersey teams, now 480 miles away from Newark running the Toronto Maple Leafs, his legacy lives on.

The Devils haven’t changed much under new general manager Ray Shero and coach John Hynes. They still suck the life out of the game, patiently wait for opportunities and then sit on the lead.

That happened Tuesday in the Devils’ 2-0 win …

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Johan Larsson only has four points this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – When Johan Larsson scored his first goal this season Monday, the winner with 3:13 left in the Sabres’ 2-1 comeback victory in Detroit, coach Dan Bylsma couldn’t quite read the center’s body language.

“Whether he was happy, relieved, matter of fact,” Bylsma said Tuesday prior to the Sabres’ 2-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils. “I know he’s been pressing for a while now not having scored. To get that one and to get it at that point in …

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Johan Larsson (22) battles Toronto's Mark Arcobello on Oct. 21. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – When Johan Larsson scored his first goal this season Monday, the winner with 3:13 left in the Sabres’ 2-1 comeback win in Detroit, coach Dan Bylsma couldn’t quite read the center’s body language.

“Whether he was happy, relieved, matter of fact,” Bylsma said this morning after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s game against the New Jersey Devils. “I know he’s been pressing for a while now not having scored. To get that one and to get it at that …

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Evander Kane grimaces in pain after hurting his knee Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – It’s not even Halloween, and the Sabres’ season is already starting to fall apart.

If losing for sixth time in eight tries wasn’t bad enough, winger Evander Kane left the Sabres’ 4-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils with what appeared to be a left knee injury after David Schlemko hit him hard into the corner boards with 9:31 left in the game.

Kane, perhaps the Sabres’ most natural goal scorer, stayed down on the First Niagara Center ice for …

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Ryan O'Reilly was on the ice for every goal in the game Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The scene repeats itself after nearly every Sabres loss.

Inevitably, center Ryan O’Reilly will face a hoard of cameras in the dressing room, lament his miscues and take some responsibility for the defeat.

“It’s something I like about myself,” O’Reilly said about pressure Saturday prior to scoring a goal and two assists in the Sabres’ 4-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils. “I think I have to be that way. … Whether it’s practice or a game day, it pushes …

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