Anaheim’s Sam Steel skates in on Buffalo’s Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen on Tuesday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Ducks score ‘Michigan’ goal in win over Sabres; Casey Mittelstadt injured

BUFFALO – After an 11-day layoff, goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen looked sharp against the Anaheim Ducks in his first NHL action this season. The rest of the Sabres, meanwhile, clamped down, limiting chances following a slew of dreadful defensive efforts.

The end result, however, was their fifth consecutive loss. The Sabres, who have consistently been scoring goals, generated little offense for the first 40 minutes of Tuesday’s 2-0 loss.

The Ducks only needed Sonny Milano’s goal ... Read the full article

Jacob Bryson, shown here fending off Boston’s Erik Haula, likes Buffalo’s up-tempo system. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Offense on best scoring pace in 11 years as defense struggles

BUFFALO – Think about it, do kids grow up dreaming of scoring goals or playing defense? Hockey players develop an offensive mentality at a young age that remains with them.

“Every player in the NHL wants to play offense,” Sabres defenseman Jacob Bryson said prior to Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks at KeyBank Center. “No one likes to play defense.”

Bryson, who knows he can’t shirk his defensive duties, loves the aggressive, fast-paced ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was recalled Monday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres turn to Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen; Malcolm Subban skates after injury

BUFFALO – As expected, the struggling Sabres will change goalies tonight against the Anaheim Ducks, awarding prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen his first start this season.

Having played four games late last year, Luukkonen developed a feel of the NHL. The Finn performed well, winning his debut and posting a .906 save percentage.

“The hope is when you put him in there’s an element of relaxed to him, a comfort,” Sabres coach Don Granato said following this ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has had an inconsistent season in Rochester. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Reeling Sabres battling defensive woes amid goaltending crisis

BUFFALO – Sabres prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has struggled at times this season, performing below expectations. Yes, the goalie has enjoyed some nice moments, including his first shutout with the Rochester Americans.

But ideally, Luukkonen, 22, would be in the minors right now honing his game. The reeling Sabres only recalled him Monday because they’re in the midst of a goaltending crisis.

Having lost goalie Malcolm Subban to injury in his debut Saturday, Luukkonen was ... Read the full article

Rasmus Asplund scored two goals Thursday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Overtime win against Ducks shows Sabres might be special group

In the waning seconds of Thursday’s overtime, Buffalo Sabres winger Rasmus Asplund looked up ice, saw Victor Olofsson had room to maneuver at the blue line and fed his best friend a stretch pass.

As Asplund skated to the right circle, Olofsson cut left into the slot, splitting two Anaheim Ducks defenders before reaching the bottom of the left circle. The dizzying moves forced goalie Anthony Stolarz to overcommit, and as Olofsson fell to the ... Read the full article

Craig Anderson has already surpassed last season’s start total. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Craig Anderson’s hot start no surprise to Don Granato

Right away this season, Sabres coach Don Granato learned why goalie Craig Anderson has enjoyed such remarkable longevity.

“On Day One when I saw him in shape and as serious and intent as he was, that’s all I needed to see,” Granato said of the 40-year-old, who’s beginning his first season in Buffalo. “Nothing surprised me after that.”

Forget that Anderson is the NHL’s oldest goalie and third-oldest player, trailing only defenseman Zdeno Chara (44) ... Read the full article

Robert Hagg (left) and Mark Pysyk have quickly developed a friendship. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres defensemen Robert Hagg, Mark Pysyk thriving together as partners

BUFFALO – Sabres defensemen Robert Hagg and Mark Pysyk form a no-frills tandem. The newcomers’ simplicity is perhaps their greatest strength.

“We try to move the puck up north as quick as we can and try to close plays in the D-zone as quick as we can,” Hagg said following Wednesday’s practice at KeyBank Center. “I think that’s why we’ve been successful so far.”

That style, of course, can be a tad boring. Still, it ... Read the full article

Cody Eakin has missed the last three games. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Cody Eakin, Casey Mittelstadt nearing return from injuries

BUFFALO – Center Cody Eakin accompanied the Sabres on their four-game road trip but will likely miss tonight’s contest against the Anaheim Ducks, coach Don Granato said.

Granato expects Eakin, who suffered an upper-body injury when he crashed into the net during a practice drill last Wednesday, to play later in the trip.

Eakin, 30, has missed the last three games. Granato said Eakin will be reevaluated after tonight’s game. The Sabres also play Sunday ... Read the full article

Ryan Miller is Buffalo’s all-time wins leader. ©2021, Dan Hickling

Former Sabres star Ryan Miller to retire; Buffalo still special place for goalie

Ryan Miller felt he owed something to Buffalo. Having arrived as a 22-year-old fresh out of Michigan State, the ex-Sabres goalie experienced a lot of firsts in the city.

“Buffalo is always going to have a big part of my heart,” an emotional Miller said on a Zoom call Thursday to announce his retirement at the conclusion of this season. “I feel like I really grew up there.”

So Miller, the Sabres’ all-time wins leader, ... Read the full article

Ryan Miller spent parts of 11 seasons in Buffalo. ©2021, Dan Hickling

Popular ex-Sabres goalie Ryan Miller to retire at end of season

Ex-Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, the franchise’s all-time wins leaders and one of most decorated American players in hockey history, will retire at the end of this season, the Anaheim Ducks announced this morning.

Miller, 40, is in his fourth season with the Ducks and 18th in the NHL.

“It was a dream come true when I played my first NHL game and it has been a privilege to spend 18 years as a ... Read the full article