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Ottawa Senators

Chris Stewart (80) balances the puck on his blade in front of Ottawa's Erik Karlsson on Tuesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have played 165 periods this trying season. Most, given their 15-36-3 record and 30th overall standing, have been poor or even awful.

In the opening period of Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators, the Sabres, fresh of a pathetic 10-shot outing, performed terribly again, getting outscored 1-0 and outshot 14-8.

Early on, some fans in the announced sellout crowd of 19,070 inside the First Niagara Center responded to each Sabres shot with a mild Bronx cheer.

“I just …

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Patrick Kaleta tore his ACL in Rochester last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Finally, 33 games into his season, Patrick Kaleta is buzzing around the ice regularly looking to thump opponents, a sign the aggressive Sabres winger has recovered from a torn ACL.

“It looks like he got his legs underneath him,” coach Ted Nolan said Tuesday prior to the Sabres’ 2-1 win against the Ottawa Senators inside the First Niagara Center. “He’s searching for those big hits. You can just tell … his timing’s getting a lot better.”

Hits can be a …

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Cody Hodgson has two goals and eight points this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Cody Hodgson’s benching could last for a bit.

“Maybe two or three (games). Maybe four or five. Who knows?” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

The struggling Sabres winger, who has two goals and eight points in 51 games, will sit out tonight’s tilt against the Ottawa Senators, the second straight game he has been scratched.

The 24-year-old must wait to return, Nolan said.

“We’re going to work him a little bit harder,” he said.

Of course, …

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Cody McCormick blocked a shot Jan. 3. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – On Jan. 3 in New York, gritty Sabres forward Cody McCormick blocked a shot, something he has done 126 times in his career.

This time, however, the pain felt different. It lingered.

Something was wrong.

“I had pain in my calf after for no real reason,” McCormick told the Times Herald during the first intermission of Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders inside First Niagara Center.

McCormick didn’t know it then, but he had developed blood clots that would spread …

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Patrick Kaleta has a history of injuries. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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With 16:01 left in the Sabres’ 5-2 loss Monday in Ottawa, oft-injured Buffalo winger Patrick Kaleta tumbled hard into the end boards with Senators defenseman Jared Cowen.

Kaleta had trouble getting up and couldn’t put any pressure on his right leg as he was helped off the ice.

It appeared the 28-year-old, who tore his right ACL last season and essentially broke his face three months ago, had suffered another major injury.

But Kaleta could play Wednesday when the Sabres host the Tampa …

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Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth is 5-0 in shootouts this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – As John Tavares stickhandled toward the net, making move after move, Jhonas Enroth barely budged in his crease. When the slick New York Islanders superstar finally shot the puck, the composed goalie stuck his right pad out, securing the Sabres’ 4-3 come-from-behind shootout win Saturday.

“You look at Jhonas and how he handled it, he wasn’t even bothered by it,” Sabres defenseman Mike Weber said Sunday inside the First Niagara Center. “A lot of goalies would’ve been moving side …

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Matt Moulson beats Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner for the shootout winner Monday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Monday’s exciting 5-4 come-from-behind shootout victory against the Ottawa Senators extended the Sabres’ winning streak to four games. That’s 10 triumphs in their last 13 games. The surging team has rallied from third-period deficits in five of its last six wins.

In one month, the Sabres have morphed from a hapless team destined to finish last again into a legitimate playoff contender.

“We got something special going,” said Sabres center Marcus Foligno, who scored for the third straight game.

No kidding.

Following …

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Tyler Ennis is the Sabres' leading scorer. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Around this city and the Sabres, speedy Tyler Ennis is a star, the most dynamic offensive threat on a low-scoring team. Around the NHL, however, the winger is still a bit of an unknown.

Ennis’ name mostly pops up national circles when he scores a highlight-reel goal.

That could be starting to change.

One goal and five points during the three straight home wins just earned Ennis the NHL’s first star for the week ending Dec. 14.

Ennis, who has eight goals …

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Andrew Peters is now a radio analyst. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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Jarkko Ruutu has retired from his European team, according to Eliteprospects.com, meaning one of the greatest NHL pests of the last 15 or so years is finished. The 39-year-old Finn left the NHL almost four years ago after 652 games and an indelible mark as a supreme agitator.

When Ruutu played for the Ottawa Senators, the Sabres’ opponent tonight, he bit tough guy Andrew Peters’ thumb on Jan. 6, 2009. Yes, bit him.

Here’s what I wrote also six years ago during …

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Josh Gorges hurt his left pinky finger Saturday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – When the Sabres began their skate this morning, instead of a having a fresh body on the ice up from Rochester, Josh Gorges and Andrej Meszaros, the two defensemen injured Saturday, were practicing fully.

Defenseman Tyson Strachan, out the last four games, was also skating.

Seven defensemen will likely take the warm-up prior to tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators inside the First Niagara Center.

The Sabres have some game-time decisions, but no recall is coming.

Update: Gorges is out.

Gorges is sporting …

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