Buffalo drafted Brett Murray in 2016. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect Brett Murray thrilled to make NHL debut: ‘At a loss for words’

Buffalo Sabres rookie Brett Murray experienced an unconventional path to the NHL, moving backwards before taking small steps forward.

Three years ago, Murray, who made his NHL debut in Thursday’s 8-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, left Penn State and returned to junior. Before last season, after making a stronger commitment to his conditioning, he received an AHL contract.

Murray, a fourth-round pick in 2016, 99th overall, parlayed a solid rookie campaign with the ... Read the full article

Anders Bjork has played 13 games with Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Anders Bjork feeling comfortable with Sabres, earns promotion to top line

BUFFALO – In a 14-minute stretch Tuesday, Sabres newcomer Anders Bjork erased the New York Islanders’ lead, scoring two goals.

First, Bjork redirected defenseman Colin Miller’s point shot past Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin late in the second period. Then Bjork scored from the right circle 10:56 into the third period, tying a game the Sabres would win 4-3 in a shootout.

What do both goals have in common? Bjork, 24, created them by tenaciously ... Read the full article

Michael Houser stops a shot in Tuesday’s win. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Goalie Michael Houser stands out again, helps Sabres win shootout

BUFFALO – Hours before Michael Houser’s second NHL start, interim Sabres coach Don Granato said he wasn’t concerned about his goalie becoming fatigued.

Coaches, of course, rarely use the same goalie on back-to-back nights. The position is simply too taxing.

But Granato, having lost his other goalies, needed Houser again Tuesday, a night after his big league debut. It was also his first game at any level in nearly 14 months.

Granato was confident ... Read the full article

Stefanos Lekkas recently joined Rochester. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Ex-Vermont goalie Stefanos Lekkas grateful for time with Sabres

BUFFALO – On April 10 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, goalie Stefanos Lekkas played his last game for the Komets, an ECHL team, allowing five goals in a loss to the Indy Fuel.

Twenty-three days later, Lekkas was in the NHL, serving as Sabres rookie Michael Houser’s backup for Monday’s 4-2 win over the New York Islanders at KeyBank Center.

The memories of the night will forever be seared in Lekkas’ head.

“Just to go through ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen recently played his first four NHL games.

Sabres to be without three goalies rest of season

The Buffalo Sabres will be without goalies Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Dustin Tokarski and Carter Hutton for the final three games this season, interim coach Don Granato said.

Luukkonen, 22, left Saturday afternoon’s 6-2 loss to the Boston Bruins after getting his left skate caught on the goal post.

Granato did not have much information on the Finn, who was examined Monday.

“As far as the details of the report, I don’t have those,” Granato said ... Read the full article

Buffalo goalie Michael Houser is embraced after Monday’s win by teammates Will Borgen (left) and Rasmus Ristolainen. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres goalie Michael Houser shines in NHL debut: ‘A very special night’

BUFFALO – Eight teams, nine seasons and 284 games into his pro career, Sabres goalie Michael Houser made his NHL debut, stopping 34 shots in Monday’s 4-2 come-from-behind win over the New York Islanders.

In a dreadful year in which the Sabres could finish dead last again, Houser’s first big league start created a feel-good story that provided some excitement and intrigue to a meaningless late-season game.

Houser, 28, has spent most of his career ... Read the full article

Stefanos Lekkas has played seven games with Rochester. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres sign Amerks goalie Stefanos Lekkas to PTO, make other moves

BUFFALO – The Sabres this afternoon signed Rochester Americans goalie Stefanos Lekkas to a professional tryout contract and he will back up Michael Houser tonight against the New York Islanders.

Sabres assistant coach Mike Bales, a former NHL goalie, will serve as the emergency backup, according to the team.

Goalie Dustin Tokarski, who was expected to start tonight, did not skate this morning. Tokarski relieved goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen when he was injured in Saturday ... Read the full article

Michael Houser has spent nine seasons in the minors. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres goalie Michael Houser to realize dream with first NHL start

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Michael Houser toiled nine years in the minors, playing 283 games, most of them in the ECHL, for seven teams before an opportunity to start an NHL game materialized.

Tonight against the New York Islanders at KeyBank Center, Houser, 28, will make his NHL debut, interim coach Don Granato said. Houser will be the sixth Sabres goalie to start a game this season.

Houser has spent most of the past seven ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark hasn’t played since April 13. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark’s return to ice ‘very pleasant surprise’

BUFFALO – After a lower-body injury sidelined goalie Linus Ullmark 15 games, he returned in late March and quickly morphed into the Sabres’ backbone again.

Then on April 13 in Boston, Ullmark, in his eighth appearance back, suffered a lower-body ailment stretching to make a save in the opening minutes. At first, he tried to play through the pain.

“When the pain never subsided and it was getting worse and worse, I couldn’t find any ... Read the full article

Michael Houser is receiving his first taste of the NHL with Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres goalie Michael Houser enjoying first taste of NHL: ‘Cool experiences’

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Michael Houser arrived at the visiting dressing room that night six weeks ago in Madison Square Garden sweating.

Minutes earlier, Houser, 28, had been watching the action against the New York Rangers from a suite with other members of the team’s taxi squad.

Then Carter Hutton suffered a lower-body injury less than three minutes into the game, meaning Houser, the emergency backup, had to rush downstairs and get ready.

“I had ... Read the full article