Sam Reinhart (23) celebrates his second-period goal with Evan Rodrigues (71) and Ryan O'Reilly (90) on Tuesday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

All-around effort pushes Sabres past Lightning for rare home win

BUFFALO – In the oddest of Sabres seasons, try figuring this one out: since top center Jack Eichel hurt his ankle Saturday, the NHL’s second-worst team has beaten the league’s two best.

In Tuesday’s 5-3 win against the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning, terrific individual efforts, fine special teams play and a balanced attack buoyed the Sabres.... Read the full article

Cory Conacher played 19 games with the Sabres four years ago. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabre Cory Conacher thrilled to be back with Lightning

BUFFALO – Two and a half years ago, former Sabres center Cory Conacher wanted a fresh start. So just months removed from regular NHL duty, the Canisius College product bolted overseas to Switzerland.

“The reason I went over was just to find a second wind,” Conacher said Tuesday prior to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 5-3 loss to the Sabres inside KeyBank Center.

Some risk, of course, accompanied leaving North America at 25 years old. Conacher, ... Read the full article

Chad Johnson has zero home wins this season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Chad Johnson to start against Lightning

BUFFALO – Against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the NHL’s top team, you figure the Sabres would start No. 1 goalie Robin Lehner, who has played 42 times this season.

But Lehner, fresh off Sunday’s 5-4 home loss to Colorado, will sit tonight for backup Chad Johnson.

Why start Johnson, who has just three wins and zero at home?... Read the full article

Scott Wilson occasionally gets promoted to a scoring line. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Scott Wilson moving around

BUFFALO – Early last season, Sabres winger Scott Wilson earned a coveted assignment beside Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby.

But the gig didn’t last long for Wilson, a speedy bottom-six forward known more for his checking abilities.

“I played a little bit with Sid and I kind of changed the way I played,” Wilson said Sunday inside KeyBank Center. “That’s not what they were looking for.”

Later in the season, Wilson received another plum opportunity ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen vies for the puck with Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman on Tuesday. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres blanked again by Lightning

BUFFALO – Winger Evander Kane paused for a moment following the Sabres’ second straight shutout loss. The veteran wanted to collect his thoughts, not mince any words.

With Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat to the Tampa Bay Lighting, the Sabres have been blanked in back-to-back games for the first time since Oct. 17 and 18, 2014, some of the franchise’s darkest days.

Back then, the Sabres fielded the NHL’s weakest lineup. Winning wasn’t a priority.

These days, ... Read the full article

Matt Moulson scored 11 power-play goals last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Matt Moulson positive through tough stretch

BUFFALO – Long before practice begins most days, Sabres winger Matt Moulson can be found on the ice, smiling and shooting pucks or working on something else.

Instead of pouting over becoming a healthy scratch, Moulson, 34, has tried to quietly go about his business.

“It (stinks),” Moulson said of sitting out. “I think it’s not fun when you’re not playing, not helping contribute in games, it’s a tough position. You got a couple choices ... Read the full article

Nikita Kucherov is on pace for 61 goals this season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Summer regimen helped Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov raise game

BUFFALO – As the summer wore on, Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper started getting worried.

His young superstar, winger Nikita Kucherov, arrived in town in July – “Nobody comes to Tampa in July,” Cooper said – and seemingly wouldn’t stop working out.

Kucherov, 24, rented ice five days a week until training camp started.... Read the full article

Matt Moulson has zero points this season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Matt Moulson to return against Lightning

BUFFALO – When you’ve lost 18 of your 24 games like the Sabres have this season, including eight of the last nine, you keep trying different things.

So veteran winger Matt Moulson, a healthy scratch the last six games, will return tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“We sit where we are, we’re going to continue to make changes,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said this morning inside KeyBank Center.... Read the full article

Josh Gorges has been a healthy scratch four times this season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Josh Gorges moving in and out of lineup

BUFFALO – The past two months have been difficult for Josh Gorges. The Sabres defenseman last sat out games 11 years ago, his second NHL season. The uncertainty that accompanies being a healthy scratch has taken its toll on the proud veteran.

“The adjustment is just trying to keep your mind right,” Gorges said Monday inside KeyBank Center. “Every day you don’t know if you’re in or out of the lineup, so that can ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner makes a save amid a flurry Saturday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner’s shootout struggles continue in loss to Lightning

BUFFALO – To Sabres goalie Robin Lehner, shootouts are “different.” Players have all the time they need, allowing them to speed up, slow down and try things that wouldn’t be allowed in regular play.

“It’s not hockey,” Lehner said following Saturday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning before 18,935 fans inside KeyBank Center.

It might not be regular hockey, but it still counts, and Lehner has been brutal in shootouts all season, ... Read the full article