Linus Ullmark has played 33 games this season. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Goalie Linus Ullmark Sabres’ best option this season and likely next one

BUFFALO – Expect Linus Ullmark to morph into a workhorse again over the final four weeks this season. If the goalie can stay healthy, he might start 12 or 13 of the reeling Sabres’ 14 remaining games.

Ullmark, who hasn’t played since suffering a lower-body injury Jan. 28, will likely start tonight against the Washington Capitals at KeyBank Center.

Before Ullmark missed 17 games – he backed up Carter Hutton on Saturday – he seized ... Read the full article

Conor Sheary returned to Pittsburgh last week. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Former Sabres Conor Sheary, Evan Rodrigues fitting in with Penguins

BUFFALO – In a little less than two seasons with the Sabres, Conor Sheary rarely played beside top center Jack Eichel. Instead, the winger often shuffled between the second and third lines as he struggled to score goals.

But in the four games since the Sabres traded him back to the Pittsburgh Penguins with forward Evan Rodrigues on Feb. 24, Sheary has received a plum assignment, skating beside superstar Sidney Crosby.

Sheary has gone from ... Read the full article

Wayne Simmonds waived his no-trade clause to leave New Jersey. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres deal aggressively, trade for Wayne Simmonds, Dominik Kahun

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

Zemgus Girgensons and Rasmus Ristolainen bump each other before a game this season. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Through seven years of losing, three Sabres have grown close

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

Brandon Montour (62) tries to help goalie Carter Hutton on Tuesday. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Goalie Carter Hutton difference-maker in Sabres’ win over Red Wings

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

Sam Reinhart (23) skates in front of Colorado's Nazem Kadri on Tuesday. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres implode in ugly second period, fall to Avalanche: ‘Today was (crap)’

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

Rasmus Ristolainen had an assist Tuesday. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen impressing in front of net on power play

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

Sam Reinhart (23) celebrates his second-period goal Saturday afternoon. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Sam Reinhart’s presence in circle boosting power play

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

Jake McCabe has missed one game. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Jake McCabe expected to return against Canucks

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

Rasmus Ristolainen has scored all three of his goals around the net this season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu

Critical goal from Rasmus Ristolainen’s ‘office’ helps Sabres beat Kings

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