BUFFALO – The Sabres’ core group of young players has never played a meaningful late-season NHL game. This upcoming stretch will be a new experience.
A perfect weekend moved the Sabres to within six points of the Atlantic Division’s final playoff spot with 20 games remaining. A team given up for dead has roared back into the postseason hunt.
So Sabres general manager Jason Botterill dealt aggressively before Monday’s trade deadline, acquiring winger Wayne Simmonds... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres center Johan Larsson was standing beside defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen waiting for a practice drill to begin when he sensed an opportunity.
“(He) hits guys and tries to sneak up on you,” Larsson said of Ristolainen. “When you can, you got to find a little spot to get back at him.”
So Larsson, affectionately nicknamed “Angry Larry” by his teammates, gave his buddy a friendly shove Thursday on the KeyBank Center ice.
“He’s ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Suddenly, goalie Carter Hutton has morphed into a difference-maker again, helping the Sabres secure tight games by making clutch stops in the waning minutes.
Hutton struggled for months, losing the No. 1 job and 13 straight starts. Before Linus Ullmark suffered a lower-body injury, he had become a spare part, only playing when the Sabres had back-to-back games.
But in the last week, Hutton, 34, has began showcasing the early-season form that helped ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – This could spiral out of control in a hurry. There might be more ugly efforts like Tuesday’s uninspired 6-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche down the stretch.
The Sabres have displayed a disturbing penchant for melting down late in the season.
Players, coaches and even regimes change, yet the sorry results stay the same.
A week ago, the Sabres began a stretch in which they play five straight home games nine of 10 ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Over the last four seasons, Rasmus Ristolainen has averaged 36 assists. No one should be surprised the Sabres defenseman can pass the puck well.
Still, seeing Ristolainen help create winger Sam Reinhart’s power-play goal in Tuesday’s 4-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights looked unusual.
Ristolainen dished the puck from the front of the net, his new position on the power play.
“I feel everyone was kind of joking and surprised I can ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Long before he developed into a terrific net-front presence in the NHL, Sabres winger Sam Reinhart operated from the circle on the power play.
“It’s a pretty normal spot,” Reinhart said after scoring a power-play goal from the left circle in Saturday afternoon’s 6-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks inside KeyBank Center.
After moving back there earlier this month, Reinhart has looked comfortable, scoring on two one-timers.
Those goals, believe it or not, ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe, who missed Thursday’s 5-1 road loss to the St. Louis Blues with an upper-body injury, will likely play Saturday afternoon against the Vancouver Canucks.
McCabe, 26, practiced this afternoon beside Rasmus Ristolainen inside KeyBank Center.
“Just going to assess this practice with him now,” Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said of McCabe’s status. “It looks like he’ll be part of the mix.”
McCabe said: “It’s a coach’s decision, but I ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Having scored all three of his goals this season at the net, Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen feels very comfortable around that area these days.
“I feel that’s my office now, the blue paint,” Ristolainen joked after scoring in Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. “It’s the only place I can score right now, so I’ve got to go there a couple times a game, maybe get a bounce like today.”... Read the full article
TORONTO – Following a few dismal weeks, the Buffalo Sabres have quietly started showing signs of snapping out of their long funk.
Sure, Saturday’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Maple Leafs closed a disappointing November in which they went 3-8-2, losing 10 out of 13 games.
But the Sabres finished the month strongly, going 2-1-2. Earning points in four out of five contests during a busy seven-day stretch illustrates progress.
They’ll begin December in fourth ... Read the full article
TORONTO – Who expected Buffalo Sabres defenseman Colin Miller would be a healthy scratch once this season, let alone six times before December?
But a crowded blue line – the Sabres have seven healthy defensemen, including five right-handed shots – forced them to bench one in eight recent games.
Miller, 27, was usually the odd man out.
“I’m not getting many bounces lately,” Miller said prior to Saturday’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Maple Leafs ... Read the full article