C.J. Smith has 27 points in his first 26 AHL games. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect C.J. Smith piling up points with Amerks

ROCHESTER – It’s early, just 26 tilts into a 76-game season. Still, Buffalo Sabres prospect C.J. Smith hasn’t let up yet, compiling nine goals and a gaudy 27 points to start his AHL career.

So keep an eye on Smith, an undrafted winger the Sabres signed out of UMass Lowell late last season. The Americans’ leading scorer is on a 25-goal, 79-point pace over a full season.

How rare is a campaign like that?... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons sat out two games last week. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Zemgus Girgensons earns promotion after benching

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Zemgus Girgensons played 301 NHL games over nearly four and a half seasons before experiencing his first benching.

Naturally, sitting twice as a healthy scratch last week felt unusual for Girgensons, who has zero goals in his last 20 outings.

“I’ve been there injured, but it was definitely different being scratched, not a good feeling,” Girgensons said this morning. “It makes you feel a little bit useless, you always want to ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner has played three straight games. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Robin Lehner helps jumpstart Sabres

BUFFALO – It’s no coincidence the Sabres’ first three-game point streak this trying season materialized with perhaps Robin Lehner’s best stretch of goaltending.

Lehner dazzled during the Sabres’ 1-0-2 road run, stopping 125 of the 133 shots he faced, an average of 42 saves a night.

With a little luck or a few stronger minutes here or there, the Sabres could’ve won all three tilts.... Read the full article

Josh Gorges (4) checks Scott Wilson, then with Pittsburgh, last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Scott Wilson has winning background

BUFFALO – On paper, the Sabres acquired a third- or fourth-line forward with 13 goals and 32 points in 123 career NHL games. But in Scott Wilson, they have a player who developed in a winning culture and raised the Stanley Cup six months ago.

For a team currently dead last in the NHL, that means something.

Shortly after the Sabres waived Matt Moulson on Monday, general manager Jason Botterill sent the Detroit Red ... Read the full article

Matt Moulson beats San Jose goalie Martin Jones on Feb. 8. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Waiving Matt Moulson difficult for Sabres

BUFFALO – The news the Sabres would waive Matt Moulson hit Sabres winger Kyle Okposo hard.

Okposo spoke emotionally and looked shaken discussing the likely end to his best friend’s long Sabres career. Moulson and Okposo became close years ago as New York Islanders teammates. They’re even godfathers to each other’s children.... Read the full article

Matt Moulson was a healthy scratch this season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres to waive Matt Moulson for assignment

BUFFALO – The Sabres will waive Matt Moulson at noon today for the purpose of an assignment, effectively ending the graying winger’s career here.

The Sabres announced the move in a one-sentence press release this morning. If Moulson, 34, clears, he will likely be assigned to the Rochester Americans. Moulson hasn’t played in the AHL since 2008-09.

Given Moulson’s in the fourth year of a five-year, $25 million contract, he will almost certainly pass through. ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville has been all over the lineup in recent games. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jason Pominville moving around lineup

BUFFALO – Moving Jason Pominville off the Sabres’ top line wasn’t related to the veteran winger’s performance, coach Phil Housley said.

“He was playing terrific,” Housley said prior to Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes inside KeyBank Center. “We’re trying to spark some other lines and find some balance.”

Housley shifted Pominville to right wing beside center Johan Larsson and Seth Griffith or Matt Moulson last Saturday. Sam Reinhart, meanwhile, moved from his ... Read the full article

Chad Johnson has played eight games this season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Chad Johnson not worried about numbers

BUFFALO – In eight games this season, Sabres goalie Chad Johnson has accumulated some pretty weak numbers: 1-3-2 with a 3.55 goals-against average and an .885 save percentage.

Those statistics, even with scoring up six weeks into the season, won’t win many games.

Of course, the reeling Sabres, who rank last in the Eastern Conference, have allowed 3.5 goals a game as a team, the NHL’s third-worst total. Their porous defense consistently hangs the goalie ... Read the full article

Casey Nelson (34) skates away from Pittsburgh's Patric Hornqvist on March 21. ©2017, Michline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres notes: Casey Nelson recalled with Taylor Fedun injured

BUFFALO – After suffering a lower-body injury, Sabres defenseman Taylor Fedun stayed on the bench for the rest of Tuesday’s 5-4 overtime loss in Pittsburgh.

“He was trying to work through it,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said Thursday. “He wanted to be a part of the team. It’s good to see him try to gut it out for a little bit.”

Fedun’s injury is so bad it will sideline him six to eight weeks, Housley ... Read the full article

Nick Baptiste had three goals with Rochester. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Nick Baptiste likely to make season debut Tuesday

BUFFALO – After failing to earn a significant look during NHL training camp, Sabres prospect Nick Baptiste started his AHL season slowly, going pointless in his first five outings.

Finally, Baptiste, who potted 25 goals in 59 AHL contests last season, scored in his sixth game. The winger followed up by scoring twice in the final 2:25 of the Rochester Americans’ 4-3 come-from-behind overtime win against the Laval Rocket on Oct. 27.... Read the full article