Stay safe, Buffalo

Nathan Lieuwen played seven NHL games last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – With goalie Michal Neuvirth sidelined by a lower-body injury, the Sabres recalled Nathan Lieuwen from Rochester this afternoon.

Lieuwen has struggled badly with the AHL Americans this season, going 3-4 with a 3.53 goals against average and .876 save percentage.

The 23-year-old has performed terribly – 0-3, 4.91 and .838 – in his last six games. He has been yanked from three of his last five starts.

Lieuwen developed into a strong NHL prospect last season – 17-11-2, 2.34 and .922 …

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Brian Gionta had three points Tuesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Outside the First Niagara Center, temperatures dipped into the low 20s and winds gusted up to 30 mph Tuesday. It was bone-chilling cold.

But there was very little snow on the ground downtown. The area immediately around the arena remained navigable all day. So did Buffalo’s Northtowns.

Just miles away, however, an early-season storm was annihilating the Southtowns.

Five feet fell in some areas. There was chaos everywhere. No one could budge.

Still, the Sabres played on, beating the San Jose Sharks …

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John Scott played two seasons with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – John Scott was scratched again Tuesday, the 15th time in 21 games the hulking San Jose Sharks tough guy has watched this season.

Scott understands his role means he must sit out regularly. Still, the popular former Sabres fighter wanted to play badly in his return to the First Niagara Center.

“It’s always fun to come back,” Scott said prior to the Sabres’ 4-1 win. “I wish I was playing tonight. I could get into a fight, show them what …

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Nikita Zadorov will play his ninth game tonight. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – So, Sabres defenseman Nikita Zadorov, how did it feel to hear coach Ted Nolan say you have earned a roster spot?

“Did he say that?” Zadorov said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “I didn’t know that.”

Assuming the game is played, the 19-year-old will make his ninth appearance tonight. His contract kicks in with a 10th.

Nolan said Monday he was “more than positive he’s earned his keep,” meaning Zadorov has a place on the team.

“That’s great,” Zadorov said. …

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Matt Moulson (26) and Zemgus Girgensons (28) are part of the Sabres' first line. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Finally, more than a month into the season, the Sabres’ feeble offense has busted loose, scoring nine goals in the last two outings, including a season-high six in Saturday’s annihilation of Toronto.

About time, right?

The NHL’s weakest attack scored 19 goals in the first 17 games, so the last two contests have accounted for 32 percent of the Sabres’ offense this season.

Incredible.

The Sabres are scoring at a shocking 120-goal pace. That would be 30 fewer goals than last season, …

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Nikita Zadorov was scratched early this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Nikita Zadorov is staying put. Coach Ted Nolan said Monday the 19-year-old Russian has earned a roster spot.

After playing seven straight games, including a 25-minute outing Thursday, it was assumed the Sabres would keep him.

“I try not to assume, but I’m more than positive he’s earned his keep,” Nolan said inside the First Niagara Center.

Tonight’s tilt against the San Jose Sharks will be Zadorov’s ninth game. His contract activates with a 10th appearance.

Zadorov, the No. 16 …

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Nikita Zadorov has played eight games. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Nikita Zadorov is staying put. Coach Ted Nolan said this afternoon the 19-year-old Russian has earned a roster spot.

After playing seven straight games, including a 25-minute outing Thursday, it was assumed the Sabres would keep him.

“I try not to assume, but I’m more than positive he’s earned his keep,” Nolan said inside the First Niagara Center.

Tuesday’s tilt against the San Jose Sharks will be Zadorov’s ninth game. His contract activates with a 10th appearance.

Zadorov, the No. …

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Dominik Hasek will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame tonight. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – It was the dawn of the 1992-93 season, and the Sabres had just acquired Dominik Hasek, a raw, relatively unknown goalie from the Chicago Blackhawks.

Right away, Sabres coach John Muckler gave Mitch Korn, his goalie coach, a message about the unorthodox Czech netminder.

“He said, ‘This guy’s a little unique, so just leave him alone, and if he wants your help, he’ll just come to you, just work with the other guy,’” Korn said by phone Sunday from Toronto, …

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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
1

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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