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Toronto Maple Leafs

Brian Flynn steals the puck from Toronto goalie James Reimer on Saturday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – For one night at least, the First Niagara Center felt like the old days. A raucous capacity crowd of 19,070 fans roared from start to finish Saturday. The Sabres buzzed up and down the ice all night against the hated Toronto Maple Leafs, scoring goals and creating chance after chance.

The Sabres’ rollicking 6-2 win, just their second regulation triumph this season and first at home, was wildly entertaining, high-octane hockey.

Up in the Ted Darling Memorial Press Box, legendary …

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Tyler Ennis had a goal and three points Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Tyler Ennis still remembers every little detail of Nov. 14, 2009, the day the slick Sabres winger made his NHL debut.

When Portland Pirates coach Kevin Dineen told Ennis the Sabres could recall him for a game in Philadelphia that night, the youngster left the rink – “It was like a 30-minute drive,” he said – and went home.

He needed to eat, so he “picked up a quick Subway sandwich.”

Ennis then packed. Dineen called and said the Sabres needed …

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Patrick Kaleta made his season debut Thursday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Patrick Kaleta’s home season debut will have to wait. Sabres coach Ted Nolan will scratch the winger for tonight’s tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs inside the First Niagara Center.

The Angola native played his first NHL game since Oct. 10, 2013 on Thursday, a 6-3 loss in Minnesota.

Kaleta tore his ACL almost a year ago in the AHL and took a puck to the face Sept. 28. Nolan thinks after playing eight minutes, six seconds against the speedy …

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Drew Stafford has a team-high 10 points. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Drew Stafford figured what the heck, he had nothing to lose by offering his services at center. The Sabres winger had played the position in high school.

So Stafford recently told coach Ted Nolan he would move if the reeling Sabres wanted to experiment.

“I wanted to let him know I’m comfortable with whatever he throws at myself or whoever I end up with,” Stafford said Friday inside the First Niagara Center. “I want him to know I want to …

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Rick Jeanneret talks last year in Rochester. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – To winger Patrick Kaleta, who grew up in nearby Angola listening to Rick Jeanneret call games, the greatest perk of playing for the Sabres isn’t money or prestige.

“One of the best, if not the best thing about being a Sabre is hearing your name called by Rick Jeanneret,” Kaleta said Friday inside the First Niagara Center. “I still get chills listening to some of stuff on YouTube.”

So whenever Kaleta needs to “get pumped up,” he listens to the …

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Michal Neuvirth kept the Sabres in Tuesday's game. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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TORONTO – It turns out that nice win three days earlier was an anomaly. The hapless Buffalo Sabres reverted back into a laughingstock in Tuesday’s embarrassing 4-0 loss to the Maple Leafs, getting thoroughly dominated throughout their eighth loss in 10 tries this season.

How ugly was Buffalo’s effort?

The Sabres, three weeks into their 44th season, sprinkled a franchise-low 10 shots on Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier. The Leafs, meanwhile, pumped 37 shots on Sabres netminder Michal Neuvirth.

“I don’t know who we …

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Chris Stewart began his NHL career in 2008-09. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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TORONTO – Incredibly, Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to the Maple Leafs, Chris Stewart’s 392nd NHL game, was his first appearance in his hometown.

Toronto was the only city the 26-year-old Buffalo Sabres winger hadn’t played in.

How did that happen?

Stewart played in the Western Conference with Colorado and St. Louis before the Sabres acquired him in March.

“My first year I got healthy scratched here, and then the lockout year we didn’t play the East, and then the one time I got traded to …

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Tonight will be Chris Stewart's 392nd NHL game. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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TORONTO – Incredibly, tonight’s tilt against the Maple Leafs, Chris Stewart’s 392nd NHL game, will be his first appearance in his hometown.

Toronto’s the only city the 26-year-old Buffalo Sabres winger hasn’t played in.

How did that happen?

Stewart played in the Western Conference with Colorado and St. Louis before the Sabres acquired him in March.

“My first year I got healthy scratched here, and then the lockout year we didn’t play the East, and then the one time I got traded to St. …

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Josh Gorges (4) leads the NHL in blocked shots. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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TORONTO – Take away the character, take away the tenacity, and Buffalo Sabres veteran Josh Gorges becomes a run-of-the-mill defenseman.

The undrafted Gorges has built an unlikely 10-year NHL career by showcasing passion – on and off the ice.

“I have to play with my heart,” Gorges, whose Sabres play the Maple Leafs tonight, said Monday. “I have to play everything I got every shift.”

The 30-year-old believes he couldn’t do either of those wearing the blue-and-white of the hated Toronto Maple Leafs.

Four …

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Michal Neuvirth has played three games this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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TORONTO – Goalie Michal Neuvirth, once thought to be the Buffalo Sabres’ backup, will make his second consecutive start tonight in Toronto, coach Ted Nolan said.

What’s going on? Wasn’t Jhonas Enroth supposed to be the No. 1 goalie?

Tonight’s contest will be Neuvirth’s third nod in the last four games.

Nolan said Monday he never anointed Enroth, who’s played six contests, the starting netminder.

“I said he won the right to start the season,” Nolan said inside the First Niagara Center. “There’s a …

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