Nick Baptiste beats St. Louis goalie Jake Allen on Saturday afternoon. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Nick Baptiste scores early in return to Sabres

BUFFALO – A positive trend has developed in the last few months for the Sabres. Each time they recall one of their forward prospects from the Rochester Americans, the youngsters make a strong case to stick around.

Rookies Justin Bailey, William Carrier and Evan Rodrigues have all seized their opportunities and started earning regular NHL duty.

After speedy winger Nick Baptiste’s impressive performance in Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 win against the St. Louis Blues – ... Read the full article

Justin Bailey has become an elite AHL scorer. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres rookie Justin Bailey earning chances with top talents

BUFFALO – Sabres coach Dan Bylsma believes given Justin Bailey’s recent history, the talented rookie winger will start scoring at the NHL level.

Over the past year, the Williamsville native has morphed into a lethal AHL scorer, compiling 39 goals with the Rochester Americans, including 19 in 39 games this season.

Sooner or later, Bylsma thinks that scoring prowess will translate to the NHL. Bailey has one goal and two points in 14 games ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner (40) plays the puck Saturday in Toronto. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner to start against Canucks

BUFFALO – Instead of using backup Anders Nilsson, who has a 7-1-1 home record, the Sabres will start No. 1 goalie Robin Lehner for the second straight night.

Why?

“Been looking for this opportunity to give Robin a bigger workload,” coach Dan Bylsma said this morning inside KeyBank Center, where the Sabres host the Vancouver Canucks. “He’s getting an opportunity tonight.”

Lehner looked sturdy throughout Saturday’s 3-1 win in Toronto, making a season-high ... Read the full article

Evan Rodrigues grew up cheering for the Maple Leafs. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Toronto debut special for Sabres rookie Evan Rodrigues

TORONTO – Growing up in Etobicoke, about a 20-minute drive from the Air Canada Centre, Alexander Mogilny’s talents mesmerized Buffalo Sabres rookie Evan Rodrigues.

By the early 2000s, long after his dynamic 76-goal season with the Sabres in 1992-93, Mogilny was still an electrifying presence for some strong Maple Leafs teams.

“He was always trying something new,” Rodrigues said Saturday prior to the Sabres’ 3-1 win against the Leafs. “He always made some real ... Read the full article

Tonight will be Evan Rodrigues' fifth NHL game. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres recall Evan Rodrigues again; Cody Franson out 2-3 weeks

TORONTO – This afternoon, hours before his fifth NHL game, Buffalo Sabres rookie Evan Rodrigues couldn’t stop smiling.

“He’s always all smiles,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said inside the Air Canada Centre.

True, Rodrigues, 23, always seems to be grinning. But tonight’s tilt, which will be broadcast across Canada on “Hockey Night in Canada,” is extra special for Rodrigues, who grew up a Maple Leafs fan in Etobicoke, about 20 minutes from Toronto.

“It’s going ... Read the full article

Brian Gionta (12) cuts between Anaheim's Hampus Lindholm (47) and Brandon Montour (71) on Thursday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres implode late, lose to Ducks

BUFFALO – There was no roaring comeback or a big last-second push. Instead, the Sabres, fresh off a rollicking come-from-behind win, imploded late in Thursday’s ugly 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, allowing four goals after beginning the third period tied.

“We had the game right there 1-1,” Sabres goalie Robin Lehner said. “It’s disappointing.”

So much for carrying some momentum from Tuesday’s 5-4 overtime victory against San Jose, a game in which the Sabres ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen (55) tries to block a shot Thursday against the New York Rangers. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres tie game late, lose to Rangers in OT

BUFFALO – The scoreboard read zero goals, but in reality, the Sabres could’ve had five or six by late in the third period of Thursday’s 2-1 overtime loss to the New York Rangers.

The Sabres, studs at home in recent weeks, zoomed around Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist all night, generating chance after chance. But with six minutes left in regulation and their shot total approaching 40, the Sabres hadn’t scored yet.

Finally, Sabres defenseman Cody ... Read the full article

Dmitry Kulikov was injured in the preseason. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Overcoming back injury tough for Sabres’ Dmitry Kulikov

BUFFALO – These days, Sabres defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, a young veteran at just 26 years old, said he feels like an old man when he wakes up.

A lower-back bruise has been dogging the Russian for four months, forcing him out of the lineup three times and costing him 26 games.

Kulikov has dealt with the pain through a daily treatment regimen, and Thursday’s 2-1 overtime loss against New York Rangers was his fourth ... Read the full article

Dmitry Kulikov has played 23 games this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Dealing with back injury difficult for Sabres’ Dmitry Kulikov

BUFFALO – These days, Sabres defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, a young veteran at just 26 years old, said he feels like an old man when he wakes up.

A lower-back bruise has been dogging the Russian for four months, forcing him out of the lineup three times and costing him 26 games.

Kulikov has dealt with the pain through a daily treatment regimen, and tonight’s tilt against New York Rangers will be his fourth straight ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart (23) battles Dallas' Jiri Hudler on Jan. 16. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres emerge from break focused on playoffs

In eight years in the NHL, Buffalo Sabres winger Evander Kane said he has never seen the standings so crunched barely halfway through the season.

Following the three-day NHL All-Star break, the Sabres start the stretch run tonight at the Montreal Canadiens in seventh place, tied with the Detroit Red Wings for the fewest points in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

Still, with 49 points through 48 games, the Sabres, who have three contests ... Read the full article