Jeff Skinner (53) is back with Jack Eichel. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres hope to build streak by beating pesky Hurricanes

BUFFALO – The Sabres, who enjoyed a 10-game winning streak in November, haven’t won consecutive tilts since Dec. 11-13.

Fresh off Tuesday’s 5-4 shootout win over the Minnesota Wild, the Sabres have an opportunity to build something again. Of course, to get a streak going, the Sabres must knock off the Carolina Hurricanes, Thursday’s opponent at KeyBank Center.

The Hurricanes, who have as many points, 58, as the Sabres, have beaten the Sabres seven straight ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo (21) battles Columbus' Ryan Murray (27) and Sergei Bobrovsky last Tuesday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Reeling Sabres hope new lines, defense pairs can help ignite them

BUFFALO – Sooner or later, coach Phil Housley needed to make some significant changes, right? The Sabres have fallen from first overall to three points out of a playoff spot.

Having compiled an awful 8-14-4 mark in their last 26 games, their marathon slump has surpassed the two-month mark. In their last 10 outings, they’re a dreadful 3-7.

In recent games, the Sabres have often shown little interest in playing defense and struggled to score ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith has compiled 41 points in 41 AHL games this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Reeling Sabres showcase new lines, defense pairs

BUFFALO – Sooner or later, coach Phil Housley had to make some significant changes, right? The Sabres have fallen from first overall to three points out of a playoff spot.

Having compiled an awful 8-14-4 mark in their last 26 games, their marathon slump has surpassed the two-month mark. In their last 10 outings, they’re 3-7.

In recent games, the Sabres have shown little interest in playing defense and struggled to score goals. Their power ... Read the full article

Tampa Bay goalie Louis Domingue makes a save last season with the Sabres' Sam Reinhart close by. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres lose to Lightning, fall out of playoff spot

BUFFALO – Twenty games ago, the upstart Sabres grabbed the top spot in the NHL after winning their 10th straight contest.

At that point, 25 games into the season, the Sabres appeared ahead of schedule. While many observers believed they could possibly contend for a playoff spot, few thought they would be the league’s best team more than a quarter into the campaign.

Fast forward to today, and the Sabres have fallen hard. Yes, they’re ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel has missed three games. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jack Eichel close to playing

BUFFALO – Sabres center Jack Eichel practiced this morning in his regular spot beside winger Jeff Skinner, a sign the NHL All-Star is ready to return from his upper-body injury.

“He did quite well, a pretty high-tempo, bump-and-grind practice,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “It’s good to see him out there.”

So, will the captain return for Friday’s road tilt against the Carolina Hurricanes following a three-game absence?... Read the full article

Tage Thompson experienced a big growth spurt in 2015. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Tage Thompson learning to utilize big body

BUFFALO – Not long before Sabres winger Tage Thompson began his freshman year at UConn, he was 6-foot-1 and 160 pounds.

Then Thompson experienced a growth spurt over the summer of 2015. By the time he got to campus, he was a lanky 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds.

“So three inches and 20 pounds over the course of a summer,” Thompson said Friday inside KeyBank Center. “Then that following year, (I) grew another inch, put on ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner scored twice Thursday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres beat Panthers, hit halfway mark on high note

BUFFALO – The cushion the Sabres created during their 10-game winning streak is long gone. In losing 11 out of 15 contests before Thursday’s tight 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers, they dropped from first or second place in the Atlantic Division to the Eastern Conference’s top wild card spot.

So Thursday’s victory, the Sabres’ first game without captain Jack Eichel, who’s nursing an upper-body injury and will miss at least one more game, ... Read the full article

Evan Rodrigues has 11 points this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Jack Eichel’s injury gives Evan Rodrigues chance on Sabres’ top line

BUFFALO – Thanks to center Jack Eichel’s upper-body injury, Sabres coach Phil Housley leaned on Evan Rodrigues heavily throughout Monday’s 3-1 loss, skating him a career-high 22 minutes, seven seconds.

Rodrigues, 25, had never even cracked the 20-minute mark in his previous 113 NHL outings.

Expect Rodrigues to see plenty of action again Thursday against the Florida Panthers.

Eichel, who skated only four shifts before leaving Monday’s tilt against the New York Islanders, did ... Read the full article

Jake MccCabe (15) battles the New York Islanders' Cal Clutterbuck on Monday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres lose game to Islanders, Jack Eichel to injury

BUFFALO – Three straight losses. A rough stretch in which they’ve dropped 11 of 15 games. An anemic offense that has produced just five goals in the last eight contests.

The Sabres closed 2018 like the opened it, struggling to win games and score goals.

Did we mention captain Jack Eichel, the Sabres’ leading scorer, left Monday’s 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders nursing an upper-body injury after playing just 2:42?... Read the full article

C.J. Smith played two NHL games late in 2016-17. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: C.J. Smith earns recall from Amerks

BUFFALO – Late in the 2016-17 season, the Sabres rewarded C.J. Smith with two NHL games after the forward left UMass Lowell following his junior year.

Then Smith, 24, quietly began the next season in the AHL, where he morphed into a top scorer and an intriguing prospect with the Rochester Americans.

Still, the Sabres kept Smith in the AHL nearly a year and a half before finally summoning him prior to Monday’s 3-1 ... Read the full article