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New York Islanders

Sabres captain Brian Gionta skates away from the New York Islanders' Thomas Hickey on Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Following the Sabres’ 2-1 loss Thursday, center Ryan O’Reilly wasn’t taking any solace in the improved power play they showcased against the New York Islanders.

Sure, the Sabres’ struggling power play got its first goal, an O’Reilly score, in eight games, ending a zero for 24 run. And early on, with rookie center Jack Eichel promoted to the top unit, the Sabres pumped seven shots on goal during their first chance, helping them seize momentum.

Thanks to three early power …

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Matt Moulson has struggled all season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Struggling Sabres winger Matt Moulson understands that after going 24 games without scoring a goal – a career-long stretch that dates back to Nov. 1 – sitting out as a healthy scratch Wednesday was probably a good thing.

“I think … maybe (it) was a good time to just get my mind right and make sure I’m playing the way I’m capable of to help this team,” Moulson said Thursday inside the First Niagara Center.

Moulson, 32, returned Thursday against …

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Ryan O'Reilly (90) and Nick Deslauriers celebrate a goal Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – These days, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma’s options are limited. His top two wingers, Tyler Ennis and Evander Kane, are injured. So under normal circumstances, Nick Deslauriers and Marcus Foligno wouldn’t be flanking No. 1 center Ryan O’Reilly.

The big bodies are known more for their grit than their goal scoring.

“You don’t see Deslauriers and Foligno and call it a first line,” coach Dan Bylsma said Saturday inside HarborCenter after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s road contest against the New …

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Bryan Trottier is one of the New York Islanders' all-time greats. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – New York Islanders legend Bryan Trottier remembers the noise. The roar inside Nassau Coliseum would become deafening, funneling down from the stands to the ice.

“To the point where you’re reading lips,” Trottier, a Sabres assistant coach, said Friday. “Until you actually experience it, it’s just fantastic.”

The Isles are moving to bigger and better digs 24 miles away next season, the shiny Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Trottier, a Hall of Famer who won four straight Stanley Cups with the …

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Chris Stewart joined Minnesota on Monday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ deals before Monday’s trade deadline stripped the NHL’s worst team of four assets. Gone are starting goalie Michal Neuvirth, first-line winger Chris Stewart and centers Brian Flynn and Torrey Mitchell, two checkers thrust into bigger roles thanks to the rebuilding team’s shortage of talent.

In return, the Sabres received, well, nothing very notable or of immediate help. Only one NHL player, backup goalie Chad Johnson, came back. They also added four draft picks – a second, third, …

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Brian Flynn (65) battles for the puck witn Philadelphia's Ryan White earlier this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Less than three years ago, Brian Flynn was an undrafted and mostly unknown youngster at the University of Maine. The versatile forward’s signing with the Sabres barely registered with the fan base.

But Flynn quickly and quietly worked himself into a strong NHL prospect.

After less than a season in Rochester, Flynn debuted with the Sabres in 2012-13. The 26-year-old played regularly until they dealt him to the Montreal Canadiens on Monday for a fifth-round pick in 2016 hours before …

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Michal Neuvirth has played well recently. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have traded goalie Michal Neuvirth to the New York Islanders for goalie Chad Johnson and a 2016 third-round pick.

The Sabres dealt Neuvirth, an unrestricted free agent following the season, despite some impressive starts in recent weeks. The 26-year-old is 6-17-1 with a 2.99 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage in 27 games this season. He posted a .942 save percentage in eight straight starts since taking over as the No. 1 goalie last month.

Meanwhile, Johnson …

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Sabres goalie Michal Neuvirth upends the New York Islanders' Matt Martin on Sunday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Even by Sabres standards, it was ugly. Almost 32 minutes into Sunday’s 3-2 loss, the New York Islanders led by three goals. The Sabres, meanwhile, had five shots total and zero in the second period to that point.

Then, like so many other times this season, they got going. After Sabres coach Ted Nolan called a timeout, Marcus Foligno buried Nikita Zadorov’s rebound.

Just like that, the Sabres had two shots in about two seconds.

Drew Stafford scored a couple of …

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Cody Hodgson has only two goals all season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Some nights, Ted Nolan said, he lies awake in bed wondering how he can fix Cody Hodgson, his struggling winger. Right now, the Sabres coach and his staff can’t get through to the 24-year-old, who might be enduring the worst season of any NHL forward.

Nolan scratched Hodgson, who has two goals and eight points in 51 games this season, for Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, the third time he has been benched this season. Marcus …

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Cody Hodgson nearly scores on Philadelphia goalie Rob Zepp last month. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Struggling Sabres winger Cody Hodgson, who has two goals and eight points in 51 games this season, will be a healthy scratch again this afternoon against the New York Islanders.

Sabres coach Ted Nolan seems to have run out of ways to reach Hodgson, who was scratched Jan. 30 in Vancouver against the Canucks, his former team. This will be the third time he has sat.

“I don’t believe anybody’s a lost cause,” Nolan said this afternoon inside the First …

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