Evan Rodrigues has scored five goals in the last seven games. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Evan Rodrigues piling up goals after slow start

BUFFALO – It can be argued the best play in Tuesday’s victory wasn’t a goal, Sabres winger Sam Reinhart’s shootout winner or one of goalie Linus Ullmark’s windmill saves.

How about center Evan Rodrigues’ arduous effort to stay onside in the second period?

As the Sabres rushed into the Minnesota Wild zone, Rodrigues slammed on the brakes and lost his stick. Rodrigues basically looked like a wishbone about to break trying to keep his skate ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo (21) battles Columbus' Ryan Murray (27) and Sergei Bobrovsky last Tuesday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Reeling Sabres hope new lines, defense pairs can help ignite them

BUFFALO – Sooner or later, coach Phil Housley needed to make some significant changes, right? The Sabres have fallen from first overall to three points out of a playoff spot.

Having compiled an awful 8-14-4 mark in their last 26 games, their marathon slump has surpassed the two-month mark. In their last 10 outings, they’re a dreadful 3-7.

In recent games, the Sabres have often shown little interest in playing defense and struggled to score ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith has played four NHL games earlier this season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres reward C.J. Smith with promotion from Amerks

BUFFALO – Following a recent four-game look with the Sabres, winger C.J. Smith returned to the AHL and promptly went on a tear, scoring a hat trick in his first outing.

Smith, 24, performed splendidly, recording five goals and 12 points in eight games after the Sabres sent him to the Rochester Americans.

“He got the right message,” coach Phil Housley said Monday after the Sabres recalled Smith again.

Smith, who has compiled 18 goals ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith has compiled 41 points in 41 AHL games this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Reeling Sabres showcase new lines, defense pairs

BUFFALO – Sooner or later, coach Phil Housley had to make some significant changes, right? The Sabres have fallen from first overall to three points out of a playoff spot.

Having compiled an awful 8-14-4 mark in their last 26 games, their marathon slump has surpassed the two-month mark. In their last 10 outings, they’re 3-7.

In recent games, the Sabres have shown little interest in playing defense and struggled to score goals. Their power ... Read the full article

Carter Hutton got yanked after 40 minutes. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres play loose defensively in ugly loss to Blackhawks

BUFFALO – An agitated Phil Housley mentioned it four times during his three-and-a-half minute news conference following Friday’s ugly 7-3 loss to the last-place Chicago Blackhawks.

The Sabres don’t respect the defensive side of the game.

In their sixth loss in eight games, the Sabres, like so many other recent outings, played a one-dimensional contest, simply focusing on their offense. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, exploited seemingly every miscue, scoring five goals off turnovers.

The ugly, disjointed ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt has strong chemistry with his linemates. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Casey Mittelstadt brimming with confidence

BUFFALO – One of the best stretches of Casey Mittelstadt’s 57-game NHL career – two goals and four points over seven recent contests – hasn’t boosted the Sabres rookie’s confidence.

“I don’t think I’m more confident or anything,” Mittelstadt said prior to Friday’s 7-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks inside KeyBank Center. “I don’t struggle in that department.”

Mittelstadt, 20, doesn’t lack confidence.

“I know what I’m capable of doing,” the slick center said.... Read the full article

Lawrence Pilut hasn't played since Jan. 18. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres rookie Lawrence Pilut to return against Blackhawks

BUFFALO – Rejoice, Sabres fans. Rookie defenseman Lawrence Pilut will return tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks after sitting out two straight games as a healthy scratch.

Sabres coach Phil Housley changed his blue line the last two contests, inserting Matt Hunwick and Nathan Beaulieu while Pilut, 23, watched.

While Housley said he liked what the veterans showcased, Pilut, a slick youngster fans have been clamoring to see, will play his first game since Jan. 18.... Read the full article

Zach Bogosian spent his break in the Cayman Islands. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres feel recharged after long break

BUFFALO – During the Sabres’ eight-day break, coach Phil Housley traveled home to Minnesota, where he visited his family and watched his son, Wilson, a rookie junior coach.

In the midst of a grueling 82-game season, getting away from the rink – the bye week went right into the NHL All-Star break – provided the struggling Sabres an opportunity to reset.

So Housley went up to Thief River Falls, about a five-hour drive from his ... Read the full article

Phil Housley watched his son coach over the eight-day break. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres use bye week, NHL All-Star break as opportunity to ‘reboot’

BUFFALO – During the Sabres’ eight-day break, coach Phil Housley traveled home to Minnesota, where he visited his family and watched his son, Wilson, a rookie junior coach.

In the midst of a grueling 82-game season, getting away from the rink – the bye week went right into the NHL All-Star break – provided the Sabres “a great time to get a break, to reboot,” Housley said.

So Housley went up to Thief River Falls, ... Read the full article

Carter Hutton hasn't been winning a lot lately. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres goalie Carter Hutton having rough stretch after fast start

BUFFALO – On Dec. 13, goalie Carter Hutton made 25 saves in a 3-1 win over Arizona, improving to 13-8-1 in his first season with the Sabres.

At that point, Hutton’s campaign was going splendidly. The loquacious veteran had quickly become the No. 1 netminder the Sabres envisioned when they signed the career backup to a three-year, $8.25 million contract July 1.

But since then, Hutton, 33, has lost seven of his last eight starts ... Read the full article