Jack Eichel scored on the Sabres' first shot Thursday. ©2018, Michline Veluvolu, Olean Times Herald

Sabres blow early lead, score late to down Islanders

BUFFALO – Even by Sabres standards, their start in Thursday’s 4-3 win over the New York Islanders was bad.

The Sabres have consistently stumbled, even occasionally imploded, early in games this lost season, falling behind and generating little offense.

Unlike other outings, however, the Sabres kept the puck out of their net early Thursday. Still, they chased the Islanders most of the first period, getting hemmed in their zone.... Read the full article

Evan Rodrigues moved up to the top line Thursday. ©2018, Michline Veluvolu, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Evan Rodrigues back beside college linemate Jack Eichel

BUFFALO – Three years ago, Jack Eichel and Evan Rodrigues formed perhaps college hockey’s best duo, piling up points during Boston University’s run to the national championship game.

Eichel won the Hobey Baker Award as a freshman. Meanwhile, Rodrigues enjoyed a monster senior season, compiling 61 points in 41 games.

“We kind of knew where each other were all over the ice,” Rodrigues said Thursday prior to scoring his first goal in 22 games. “We ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen played a season-high 32 minutes, 39 seconds on Tuesday. ©2018, Michline Veluvolu, Olean Times Herald

Sabres want Rasmus Ristolainen to play fewer minutes

BUFFALO – For years, Sabres coaches have said they want to trim Rasmus Ristolainen’s ice time. For years, the workhorse Finnish defenseman has kept skating big minutes.

Of course, those coaches – first Dan Bylsma and now Phil Housley – haven’t had many options beyond Ristolainen. Bad teams usually don’t possess much defense depth.

An injury or a struggling defenseman means the Sabres must lean on Ristolainen, 23, even more.

Thanks to Jake McCabe’s ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe (left) muscles past Boston's Noel Acciari on Dec. 19. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Thumb surgery to sideline Sabres’ Jake McCabe weeks

BUFFALO – With Jake McCabe out three to four weeks after undergoing thumb surgery today and Rasmus Ristolainen struggling, the Sabres’ defense corps will look much different tonight against the New York Islanders.

Casey Nelson, a recent recall quickly earning coach Phil Housley’s trust, will play with Marco Scandella, Ristolainen’s partner much of the season on the No. 1 pair. Ristolainen, meanwhile, will move back and skate with Nathan Beaulieu.... Read the full article

Robin Lehner watches the puck through snow Jan. 30. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner could be attractive option for contender

BUFFALO – Forget about struggling winger Evander Kane, the asset that could fetch the Sabres the greatest return before the upcoming trade deadline is goalie Robin Lehner.

Kane has been struggling for months, producing just four goals over a 32-game span, including zero in the past 13 contests. His value has dropped dramatically.

Lehner, meanwhile, has been tending some strong goal for the hapless Sabres, who have lost four straight home games. In ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville played his first game with the Sabres since April 2, 2013 on Thursday. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jason Pominville still producing offense at 34

BUFFALO – At first glance, it appears Sabres winger Jason Pominville has been declining since hitting the prestigious 30-goal mark four years ago.

Statistical drops are usually inevitable as players progress into their 30s, and Pominville, 34, has experienced one, failing to reach 20 goals or 60 points the last three seasons.

In his first eight NHL seasons of 70 or more games, Pominville averaged 26 goals and 64 points. In the last two campaigns, ... Read the full article

Seth Griffith scored early in his debut. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Seth Griffith close to roster spot

BUFFALO – Among the 38 players the Sabres have used through five preseason games, very few have stood out.

Of course, center Jack Eichel has performed strongly, compiling one goal and four points in three appearances. Meanwhile, veteran winger Jason Pominville scored twice in his debut.

But those Sabres are expected to make notable contributions. What about the bubble players, the AHL guy looking to crack the big club out of training camp?... Read the full article

Jordan Nolan knows Buffalo well. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Buffalo memories special for Sabres newcomer Jordan Nolan

BUFFALO – As the son of a former Sabres coach, winger Jordan Nolan’s memories of his new team and this area are special.

As a child in the 1990s, Nolan sometimes tagged along with his father, Ted Nolan, to the rink. In 2013, when the Sabres brought the elder Nolan back for a second run, Jordan proudly watched the news conference inside KeyBank Center.

Buffalo, Jordan Nolan said, has “kind of shaped our ... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander has spent the entire season in the AHL. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres recall prospect Alexander Nylander from Amerks

BUFFALO – Top Sabres forward prospect Alexander Nylander, the eighth overall pick in 2016, could be recalled from the Rochester Americans and make his NHL debut in tonight’s tilt against his brother, William, and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Update: Nylander has been recalled.

Nylander, 19, was held out Sunday afternoon’s 2-1 road win against the Albany Devils. The Buffalo News reported the Sabres will summon the Swede from the AHL club.... Read the full article

C.J. Smith played his final NCAA game last week. ©2017, UMass Lowell

Rookie C.J. Smith contributes in Sabres’ loss to Islanders

BUFFALO – The play will be seared in Sabres rookie C.J. Smith’s memory the rest of his life.

Halfway through Smith’s NHL debut, Sunday afternoon’s 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders, the speedy winger grabbed Evander Kane’s pass just outside the blue line and zoomed into the zone on a two-on-one.

Smith then dished a backhand saucer pass to Kane, who beat goalie Jaroslav Halak for his team-leading 27th goal. Just 10:08 into his ... Read the full article