Evander Kane celebrates his second goal Saturday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Evander Kane helps push Sabres past Maple Leafs

TORONTO – For nine weeks, as Evander Kane quietly morphed into one of the NHL’s hottest players, the Buffalo Sabres winger did most of his scoring on the third line, without the benefit of a top center.

So what could Kane do if he, say, played regularly with a slick pivot? Well, Saturday at the Air Canada Centre, Kane gave a pretty good demonstration.

Teamed up with center Jack Eichel again, Kane scored twice in ... Read the full article

Evan Rodrigues grew up cheering for the Maple Leafs. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Toronto debut special for Sabres rookie Evan Rodrigues

TORONTO – Growing up in Etobicoke, about a 20-minute drive from the Air Canada Centre, Alexander Mogilny’s talents mesmerized Buffalo Sabres rookie Evan Rodrigues.

By the early 2000s, long after his dynamic 76-goal season with the Sabres in 1992-93, Mogilny was still an electrifying presence for some strong Maple Leafs teams.

“He was always trying something new,” Rodrigues said Saturday prior to the Sabres’ 3-1 win against the Leafs. “He always made some real ... Read the full article

Tonight will be Evan Rodrigues' fifth NHL game. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres recall Evan Rodrigues again; Cody Franson out 2-3 weeks

TORONTO – This afternoon, hours before his fifth NHL game, Buffalo Sabres rookie Evan Rodrigues couldn’t stop smiling.

“He’s always all smiles,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said inside the Air Canada Centre.

True, Rodrigues, 23, always seems to be grinning. But tonight’s tilt, which will be broadcast across Canada on “Hockey Night in Canada,” is extra special for Rodrigues, who grew up a Maple Leafs fan in Etobicoke, about 20 minutes from Toronto.

“It’s going ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly always skates big minutes. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly knows he must stand out

TORONTO – Even in the best times, when center Ryan O’Reilly is scoring at a torrid clip and the Buffalo Sabres are winning, the eight-year veteran is notoriously hard on himself.

So naturally, Thursday’s 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, a game in which a late four-goal implosion doomed the Sabres, didn’t sit well with him.

“It was tough sleeping last night knowing that I could’ve been a lot better and impacted the game a ... Read the full article

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner tracks the puck in front of Toronto's Auston Matthews on Tuesday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner pulled in loss to Maple Leafs

TORONTO – Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner was livid, looking for someone or something to take his anger out on following a wretched 10-minute stretch.

So after getting yanked from Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Swede yelled at his own bench as he skated off the ice. Lehner then slammed his mask to the ground, looked down the bench and threw his glove off.

The Sabres have a lot of demoralizing ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (left) battles Auston Matthews on Tuesday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Maple Leafs have improved faster than Sabres

TORONTO – The Maple Leafs, like the Buffalo Sabres of a year ago, had to improve this season because 30th place was no longer their target.

After bottoming out on purpose, the Leafs added first overall pick Auston Matthews to their large stable of young talent. They also have Mike Babcock, arguably the NHL’s best coach.

Few, however, expected the upstart Leafs would be this good this soon. After Tuesday’s Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the ... Read the full article

Taylor Fedun has scored two NHL goals. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Taylor Fedun waiting for another goal

TORONTO – On a delayed penalty early in Monday afternoon’s 4-1 win, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Taylor Fedun thought he had scored his third NHL goal.

The puck went in the net, the horn sounded and the crowd cheered. The officials, however, had blown the play dead when Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen made a quick save.

No goal.

“I thought it was just a rebound off the goalie,” Fedun said this afternoon inside the Air ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (right) has 10 goals and 17 points in 22 games this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jack Eichel, Leafs’ Auston Matthews meet with Toronto surging

TORONTO – The Maple Leafs, like the Buffalo Sabres of a year ago, had to improve this season because 30th place was no longer their target.

After bottoming out on purpose, the Leafs added first overall pick Auston Matthews to their large stable of young talent. They also have Mike Babcock, arguably the NHL’s best coach.

Few, however, expected the upstart Leafs would be this good this soon. Right now, having won eight of the ... Read the full article

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner stops Toronto's Leo Komarov on Thursday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Goalie Frederik Andersen secures rare Leafs road win against Sabres

BUFFALO – With just under 12 minutes left and Toronto clinging to a one-goal lead, the Sabres, as they consistently did throughout Thursday’s 2-1 loss, pumped a string of shots on Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen in close.

After Andersen denied Sam Reinhart, Tyler Ennis backhanded a shot on net, grabbed his own rebound and released a quick wrist shot through traffic from the slot.

When Andersen’s quick left glove hand snared the puck, Ennis, ... Read the full article

Jhonas Enroth signed a one-year contract with Toronto in August. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Leafs goalie Jhonas Enroth waited to find new job

BUFFALO – This city, Jhonas Enroth said, will always “have a soft spot in my heart.” The Swede grew up with the Sabres, often performing like the team’s goalie of the future during his 118-game run here.

But almost two years after his last appearance with the Sabres, “the feeling is starting to cool down a little bit,” Enroth said Thursday prior to the Sabres’ 2-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Leafs are ... Read the full article