Carter Hutton posted a 25-save shutout Monday afternoon. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Ralph Krueger has Sabres looking like playoff contender early in tenure

BUFFALO – Few figured coach Ralph Krueger could transform the Sabres so quickly that – gasp – a playoff berth would feel possible this season.

Players need time to understand new messages and systems. Besides, Krueger inherited a hapless team that won just two games last March.

It would take time – maybe months, even a season – before the Sabres showed real progress, right?

Well, six games into Krueger’s tenure, the Sabres are still ... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson has roared out of the gate. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Victor Olofsson has chance to enjoy dynamic rookie season

BUFFALO – Winger Kyle Okposo still remembers the first time he and some other Sabres watched rookie Victor Olofsson shoot the puck.

It was training camp in 2018, and Olofsson had just arrived for his first North American season after leading the Swedish Hockey League in goals.

What Okposo and the others saw wowed them.

“We were just like, ‘Who is this kid who can shoot the puck like this?’” Okposo said Thursday inside KeyBank ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (9) skates past Shea Weber on Wednesday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Dynamic power play helps Sabres beat Canadiens in overtime

BUFFALO – Officially, center Marcus Johansson’s winner 1:30 into overtime Wednesday doesn’t count as the Sabres’ ninth power-play goal this season.

Johansson secured the Sabres’ third win in four tries (3-0-1), an exciting 5-4 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens, five seconds after center Phillip Danault’s slashing penalty expired.

So, yes, on paper, Johansson’s one-timer from the right circle goes down as an even-strength score. But Danault hadn’t even gotten back into the play yet.

Make ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner has moved beside center Marcus Johansson. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres sniper Jeff Skinner off to fast start on new line

BUFFALO – As defenseman Ryan Murray started carrying the puck out from behind the Blue Jackets net Monday, Sabres winger Jeff Skinner lurked close by and followed him up the slot.

Before Murray could skate past the circles, Skinner stripped the puck and took off toward the net. The 40-goal scorer then beat Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo, tying the game at 11:58 into the second period.

“That was a pure Jeff Skinner goal,” Sabres coach ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo scored in Saturday's win. ©2019, Hickling Images

Veteran Kyle Okposo thriving on Sabres’ ‘fourth line’

BUFFALO – Throughout his career, Ralph Krueger has refused to number lines. The Sabres coach said it’s one of his core philosophies.

Krueger believes everyone, no matter how small the role, contributes to a team’s success. Ranking forward trios or defense pairs would take away from that.

“I just (have) the respect for the depth that teams need to be successful and the role players that I need,” Krueger said after the 2-0 Sabres prepared ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart (23) and Jeff Skinner (53) celebrate a Sabres goal Saturday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres honor past captains, annihilate Devils before raucous crowd

BUFFALO – One by one Rick Jeanneret introduced them, 15 in all, including some of the greatest names in Sabres history.

Gilbert Perreault, the most iconic name, received a rousing standing ovation from the capacity crowd of 19,070. The fans roared for Danny Gare and Jason Pominville, two of the most popular players in franchise history.

Before the Sabres started Saturday’s 7-2 annihilation of the New Jersey Devils, they kicked off the home portion ... Read the full article

Carter Hutton played a career-high 50 games last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres goalie Carter Hutton to start opener; Evan Rodrigues to sit

PITTSBURGH – In almost equal preseason action, Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark outplayed Carter Hutton, posting a goals-against average 64 points lower and a save percentage 49 points higher than his partner.

But Hutton, 33, handled the load last season, playing a career-high 50 games.

Sabres coach Ralph Krueger, who said everything was up for competition during training camp, probably wants to show Hutton respect on opening night against the Penguins.

The veteran will ... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson played six games with the Sabres last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Maturity, commitment to defense helps Sabres’ Victor Olofsson earn roster spot

BUFFALO – Everyone can see Victor Olofsson’s dynamic ability to shoot the puck has helped him develop into an elite goal scorer.

The quick release. The accuracy and speed.

Few players can unleash the puck like the 24-year-old Sabres rookie.

“He’s a pure goal scorer,” Sabres captain Jack Eichel said following Tuesday’s practice inside KeyBank Center.

Olofsson’s lethal shot has helped him morph from an unknown seventh-round pick into a first-line NHL winger.

Still, a ... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson will be back soon. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres send Victor Olofsson, Henri Jokiharju to Amerks, make other moves

BUFFALO – In what are almost certainly paper transactions, the Sabres sent winger Victor Olofsson and defenseman Henri Jokiharju to the Rochester Americans this afternoon.

The Sabres also recalled forwards Jean-Sebastien Dea and Curtis Lazar and defenseman Lawrence Pilut.

In addition, the Sabres placed defensemen Zach Bogosian, Matt Hunwick and Brandon Montour and goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen on injured reserve.... Read the full article

Curtis Lazar was an AHL All-Star last season. ©2019, Kelly Shea, AHL

Sabres’ Curtis Lazar confident after rediscovering scoring touch

BUFFALO – Sabres forward Curtis Lazar said he began thinking about this training camp a year ago, around the time the Calgary Flames banished him to the minors.

Even with a year remaining on his contract, Lazar knew he was finished in Calgary and would have to resume his career elsewhere.

But before Lazar could do that, he needed to embrace his demotion to the AHL, a circuit he bypassed as a hot prospect.

In ... Read the full article