BUFFALO – Jack Eichel smirked when he heard the question. The captain had just scored the game-winning goal, igniting a late outburst that cemented a critical victory against the Sabres’ fiercest rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Clearly, Eichel revels in beating the Leafs and sending their legions of loud fans – they comprised at least 60% of Sunday’s capacity crowd inside KeyBank Center – home unhappy.
“I enjoy it,” was all Eichel would say following ... 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 – At worst, you figured Sabres winger Jeff Skinner would score 25 or 30 goals this season. But having performed so dynamically most of last year, hitting 35 or even 40 again seemed possible.
Skinner and top Sabres captain Jack Eichel formed a lethal duo a year ago. For the first time in his career, Skinner, 27, had an elite center feeding him the puck, and he responded by scoring 40 goals.
When ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In the near future – perhaps through a trade this month or as a free agent following the season – winger Conor Sheary will likely leave the Sabres, ending his disappointing two-year run here.
Sheary, 27, has struggled throughout his 124-game career with the Sabres, battling long slumps and scoring only 21 goals. He was even scratched three times in December.
Having scored 48 goals and earned two Stanley Cup rings over his ... 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 – Michael Frolik’s whirlwind Tuesday started around 6:30 a.m. in Toronto. After waking up, the Sabres newcomer headed to the U.S. Embassy.
After a trip back to the hotel, Frolik returned around 3 or 4 p.m. and picked up his visa – he said it was approved in just one day – and left for Buffalo. But traffic added nearly an hour to the drive, so the Czech arrived around 7:30 p.m.
Five days ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – By the final minutes of Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 win, most of the crowd of 17,731 had seen enough of the Sabres and departed KeyBank Center.
It was nothing against them. The spirited fans enjoyed the Sabres’ second straight victory – it was one of the noisiest contests this season – but they had somewhere to go.
The Bills’ AFC Wild Card game against the Houston Texans would be starting soon, and fans wanted ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In his five-year NHL career, Sabres winger Conor Sheary said he had never experienced being a healthy scratch until last month.
“That was something different for me,” said Sheary, who sat out three times over a six-game stretch.
But in his first half season as Sabres coach, Ralph Krueger has established he’s willing to scratch anyone.
Krueger benched forward Evan Rodrigues on opening night and has kept sitting him out for months. In ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Halfway through Tuesday’s shocking 6-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Sabres captain Jack Eichel showcased why he might be underutilized as a penalty killer.
With the Sabres up 3-1, Eichel pounced on a loose puck in his own zone and zoomed down the ice. When the slick center hit the right circle, he undressed defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk before skating through the slot and backhanding a shot by goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy for his ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Curtis Lazar loves playing center. After thriving back at his natural position a year ago with the Stockton Heat, the Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate, he talked to the Sabres during free agency about remaining there.
“All my conversations during the summer said I’d be down the middle, and then I come to camp and played strictly wing,” said Lazar, who signed a one-year, $700,000 contract July 1. “I’m honestly fine with whatever. I ... Read the full article