Carter Hutton stops San Jose's Joe Thornton on Tuesday. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres playing games with playoff implications again

BUFFALO – Considering they endured a seven-year run of futility before their recent resurgence, the Sabres haven’t exactly played a lot of big games lately.

That’s why tonight’s road tilt against the heavyweight Tampa Bay Lightning, which, believe it or not, trails the Sabres for the first time in, umm, a long time, is so meaningful.

The Sabres, who tied a franchise record Tuesday by winning their 10th straight tilt, ranked first in the 31-team ... Read the full article

Carter Hutton made 29 saves Tuesday. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Goalie Carter Hutton shines in Sabres’ win over Lightning

BUFFALO – Over their three-game winning streak, winger Kyle Okposo believes the Sabres have played just a period and a half of “real good” hockey.

“We’ve got some stuff to clean up,” Okposo said after scoring in Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over the Atlantic Division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning. “Obviously, we’re getting two points and good teams find a way to win.”

Yes, believe it or not, the Sabres are finally a good team again. They improved ... Read the full article

Tage Thompson has one assist this season. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Tage Thompson happy with Sabres’ plan

BUFFALO – Having grown up with a father who played pro hockey, Sabres winger Tage Thompson has a unique understanding of the dues-paying process that accompanies developing into an NHL player.

Before Thompson’s father, Brent, began his coaching career, he played 121 NHL games as a defenseman in the 1990s, mostly with the Los Angeles Kings.

Brent, like his son, shuttled between the big leagues and the minors as a youngster and probably sat out ... Read the full article

Patrik Berglund has scored two goals this season. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Patrik Berglund to be healthy scratch against Lightning

BUFFALO – Sabres forward Patrik Berglund is a three-time 20-goal scorer with a hefty $4.7 million salary.

But 16 games into his Sabres career, Berglund, 30, has been a disappointment. So far, the Swede he has compiled as many healthy scratches (two) as goals.

Sabres coach Phil Housley said Berglund will be scratched for tonight’s tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning inside KeyBank Center. He also sat out Oct. 18 in San Jose.

“We got ... Read the full article

Vladimir Sobotka has scored three goals in 14 games. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Versatile Vladimir Sobotka quietly key contributor to Sabres’ strong start

BUFFALO – Vladimir Sobotka’s arrival here was mostly overlooked. Of course, that isn’t surprising given the Sabres acquired the Czech forward in a blockbuster trade just hours after free agency opened.

The Sabres signed a few new players, including starting goalie Carter Hutton, early on July 1. Then they dished former NHL All-Star Ryan O’Reilly to the St. Louis Blues for three players and a first-round pick that night.

Winger Tage Thompson, perhaps ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner kept track of trade activity Monday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

With trade deadline passed, Sabres want to finish strongly

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Robin Lehner spent Monday at home with his family monitoring the NHL trade deadline activity on television and radio.

Lehner insisted for weeks he wasn’t worried about his future and wants to stay with the Sabres, something he reiterated Tuesday. But with a wife and two children, “you kind of want to know,” he said.

In the morning, a tweet from someone outside the hockey world – “I don’t know who ... Read the full article

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