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New York Islanders

Nick Deslauriers started Saturday's rally. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Give ‘em a nickname. The “Cardiac Sabres” sounds appropriate. Or perhaps the “Comeback Kids” is a little better? These days, no lead is safe inside the First Niagara Center, the site of a several stirring, late-game comebacks by the Sabres in recent weeks.

The Sabres roared back again Saturday, scoring three goals on four shots during a wild five minutes to erase a 3-0 deficit against the upstart New York Islanders.

“It just goes to show you the type of …

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Matt Moulson once formed a dynamic duo with John Tavares. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Five years ago, Matt Moulson, then a struggling winger on a two-way contract with the New York Islanders, was paired up with slick center John Tavares, the No. 1 pick months earlier.

The two immediately showcased dynamic chemistry together, becoming arguably the NHL’s best duo.

Moulson, now one of the Sabres’ top scorers, compiled seasons of 30, 31, 36 and 15 goals (in 48 games) with Tavares feeding him the puck.

How did Moulson, a former ninth-round pick, mesh so quickly …

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Mikhail Grigorenko had three assists Friday in the AHL. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres recalled center Mikhail Grigorenko from Rochester this afternoon.

With only 11 healthy forwards, the Sabres needed to summon someone to play tonight against the New York Islanders. Grigorenko, who was assigned to the AHL on Wednesday, appeared to be the likely candidate.

The 20-year-old Russian just averaged 15 minutes, 42 seconds of ice time in four games with the Sabres, compiling one assist. He has seven goals and 22 points in 30 games with the Americans, including a …

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Cody McCormick has been banged up this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Slowly, the Sabres, a team riddled by injuries and illness, are getting back to full strength.

Three more players – center Cody McCormick, winger Matt Moulson and defenseman Mike Weber – will return tonight against the New York Islanders following a three-day Christmas break. Still, the Sabres have only 11 healthy forwards, so they will recall a forward soon, coach Ted Nolan said this morning.

Update: The Sabres have recalled center Mikhail Grigorenko.

Moulson, a former Islanders star, missed three games …

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Jaroslav Halak spent five days with the Sabres last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Since creeping to within four points of the final playoff spot Dec. 15, the Sabres have lost four straight games, earning just a single point for Sunday’s 4-3 overtime loss in Boston.

Are the Sabres swooning again? Opponents have scored a whopping 20 goals during their skid.

Or is this just a normal part of a young club’s growth? A team battered by injuries and illness had the lead in two straight road games earlier this week before imploding late.

The …

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Thomas Vanek played 47 games with the New York Islanders before getting traded to Montreal. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

The New York Islanders will be keeping the No. 5 pick in June’s NHL Entry Draft and giving the Buffalo Sabres their first-round selection next year to complete the Thomas Vanek trade, the club announced today.

The Isles had until June 1 to decide.

There had been some speculation the Isles would want to have their 2015 pick for a chance at Connor McDavid, arguably the biggest prospect since Sidney Crosby.

The Sabres now have three 2015 first-round picks. In addition to their …

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Ville Leino couldn't score in 58 games this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – It happened every time Ville Leino touched the puck, whether the Sabres center was 10 feet from the net or in another zone.

The 18,804 fans inside the First Niagara Center cheered the Finn wildly throughout Sunday’s season finale, hoping he would score his first goal in his 58th appearance. Some implored him to shoot.

Alas, Leino couldn’t score, completing what was arguably the worst season ever for a Sabres forward.

“I haven’t thought about it much here,” Leino said about …

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Connor Knapp made 22 saves Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – On March 15, more than 4,000 miles from Buffalo, Sabres goalie Connor Knapp stopped 24 shots in the Alaska Aces’ 4-2 win against the Colorado Eagles in Anchorage.

Twenty-nine days later, Knapp, the sixth goalie on the organization’s depth chart, made his first NHL start in the Sabres’ 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders.

Knapp grew up in York, a small town about 30 miles from Rochester.

“It’s crazy,” the 23-year-old told a throng of cameras and reporters after …

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Connor Knapp played in relief on Saturday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Connor Knapp, the sixth goalie on the Sabres’ depth chart, will make his first NHL start this afternoon against the New York Islanders.

The Sabres recalled goalie Andrey Makarov from Rochester today on an emergency basis. But the 20-year-old Russian played for the Americans the last two days.

“Makarov, this will be his third game in three nights,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center. “They play again Wednesday. We know how crucial it is …

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Andrey Makarov could receive his first NHL start today. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Yes, the Sabres will have a full lineup for this afternoon’s season finale against the New York Islanders inside the First Niagara Center.

The injury-ravaged club, which lost five players in Saturday’s 4-1 loss in Boston, today recalled winger Nick Deslauriers, goalie Andrey Makarov and defenseman Mark Pysyk from Rochester on an emergency basis.

Makarov could make his first NHL start against the Isles. The 20-year-old Russian played Friday and Saturday for the Americans, who have won five straight games.

Connor …

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