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Sabres positioned for unlikely run at postseason

BUFFALO – Go ahead, pick the dates the underachieving Sabres appeared finished and primed to play out the string for a lottery pick.

There are plenty, you know.

There was that embarrassing 5-0 dismantling Jan. 16 in Detroit, after which an emotional Ryan Miller said a trade wouldn’t help the Sabres. Two nights later, the Blackhawks throttled them 6-2 in Chicago, the third of five straight losses on a six game-trip.

On Feb. 16, the ... Read the full article

The Sabres selected Paul Gaustad 220nd overall in 2000. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres deal Gaustad, Kassian at trade deadline

BUFFALO – If it meant getting better in the future, Darcy Regier said the Sabres would take a minor step back at the NHL trade deadline. Sixty-two games into the season, the Stanley Cup talk for the 12th-place club has ceased. Monday was about utilizing assets and filling a glaring need for a scoring center.

Clearly, the general manager had a plan to fix his underachieving team, which was six points out of eighth place ... Read the full article

©2012

Are Sabres buying or selling at trade deadline?

BUFFALO – Sitting six points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot has put the 12th-place Sabres, a high-priced club built to win the Stanley Cup this season, in a precarious spot as today’s 3 p.m. NHL deadline approaches.

What the heck do they do? Are they buying or selling?

Right now, the Sabres are surging again, having won three straight last week. They’re 8-3-3 since their defense corps reached full ... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres eke past Bruins in shootout

BUFFALO – The usual fireworks – the goals, fights, yapping and other signs of hatred – never really materialized Friday between the Sabres and Boston Bruins.

Instead, the heated Northeast Division rivals, who had played three memorable games this season, engaged in a dull, low-chance affair inside a pretty quiet First Niagara Center.

The Sabres don’t care about style, though, only the two points a tight 2-1 shootout triumph, their third straight victory, moved them ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville, who usually starts seasons slowly, compiled 14 points in October. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Pominville showcasing dynamic consistency

BUFFALO – Sixty games into the season, Jason Pominville hasn’t shown any signs of letting up. With five points in the last two contests, the Sabres captain already has 23 goals and 59 points, seven more than he had all of last season in 13 fewer appearances.

In a disappointing year for the Sabres, Pominville’s been the only constant presence, showcasing a remarkable consistency right from opening night, when a goal and two assists began ... Read the full article

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Sabres pounce on Isles early, hold on for tight win

BUFFALO – The Sabres, rested and waiting for the New York Islanders, would’ve had no excuses for losing Tuesday. Not against a team that had been humiliated 6-0 at home the previous afternoon. Not with Kevin Poulin, the rookie goaltender that had lasted just two minutes into his start, getting another nod.

The Isles looked ripe to be exploited inside the First Niagara Center.

Sure enough, the Sabres capitalized early. Tyler Myers scored just 1:21 ... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres showcase early-season form, throttle Pens

BUFFALO – On Sunday morning, shortly before the Sabres began their 6-2 shellacking of Pittsburgh, coach Dan Bylsma recalled an earlier defeat the underachieving club had laid on the Penguins.

Back on Oct. 15, the Sabres’ tenacious effort during their 3-2 triumph in Pittsburgh impressed Bylsma, who saw an active, speedy team dictating the game.

Bylsma believed the Sabres would be “a real good team, real dangerous team.” Like many others, he’s stunned they’ve fallen ... Read the full article

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Habs coach Cunneyworth experiencing difficult acclimation to Montreal

BUFFALO – Jason Pominville grew up in Quebec and still makes his offseason home there. The bilingual Sabres captain knows the Montreal Canadiens market well. He understands “the circumstances of the public wanting a French-speaking coach.”

“But at the same time,” Pominville said Friday morning inside the First Niagara Center, “I don’t think you can pass up a guy that could be your best option even though he doesn’t speak the language.”

Randy Cunneyworth, the ... Read the full article

Tyler Ennis has only four goals in 22 games this season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ anemic offense could become team’s worst ever

“I’m sure that again we’ll finish the year around (240 goals).” – Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, December 15, 2011

“I guarantee you it’ll come again. It always has.” – Ruff on his anemic offense, January 23

BUFFALO – Not long ago, Ruff could speak confidently because the post-lockout Sabres had always found ways to score. They annually overcame any struggles and ranked among the NHL’s slickest attacks, averaging 256 goals a year.

But the ... Read the full article

©2012

Penalties doom Sabres in loss to Devils

BUFFALO – The five triumphs in six games, the recent three-game winning streak, it was probably all just a tease. At this point, the 14th-place Sabres can’t be postseason contenders, can they? Are they really going to leapfrog six teams and nab the last spot?

In their second straight home loss, a weak 4-1 decision to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, the Sabres lacked oomph, taking a season-high seven minor penalties while ... Read the full article