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

Drake Caggiulla has started finding a groove in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Drake Caggiula excited for opportunity with Sabres, moving up lineup

Having played for four teams in three seasons, Buffalo Sabres winger Drake Caggiula understands how fleeting opportunities can be in the NHL.

Caggiula, a prized college free agent in 2016, has bounced around since the Edmonton Oilers traded him in December 2018, playing for the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes before the Sabres claimed him off waivers April 9.

The North Dakota product lasted only 27 games with the Coyotes after signing a one-year contract.... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens has two career NHL fights. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres rookie Dylan Cozens wants to use fights as tool to ignite own game

Over the past couple of games, Buffalo Sabres rookie Dylan Cozens said he has been battling the puck and unable to find any rhythm.

So when an opportunity materialized late in Tuesday’s 3-1 road loss to the New York Rangers to stick up for a teammate and fight Kevin Rooney after he boarded Drake Caggiula, Cozens pounced on it.

“The hit didn’t look too good and I wasn’t too happy with my own play ... Read the full article

Dustin Tokarski made 34 saves Sunday afternoon. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Goalie Dustin Tokarski looks sharp with little rest, helps Sabres beat Penguins

BUFFALO – Having played goalie into his mid-teens before switching to forward, interim Sabres coach Don Granato possesses a strong understanding of the unique position.

Granato knows the strain of playing back-to-back days often affects the goalie’s focus and other subtleties in his game. He might, for example, have trouble playing his angles or handling rebounds.

But in Sunday afternoon’s 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, goalie Dustin Tokarski looked sharper than he did a ... Read the full article

Tage Thompson has scored five times in the last nine games. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Tage Thompson, Sabres’ other young players grab starring roles

BUFFALO – The Sabres are finally playing meaningful late-season games.

Of course, the outcomes won’t affect the standings. Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins officially eliminated them from the postseason for a record-tying 10th consecutive season.

Still, the final weeks of this campaign will shape the Sabres’ future. Interim coach Don Granato has handed the keys over to some of his young players, and so far, they’ve seized their opportunities.

On Saturday, for ... Read the full article

Rasmus Dahlin loved playing in Tuesday’s game. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin responds to challenge of playing heavy Bruins

In his three-year career, Rasmus Dahlin has never experienced the NHL postseason. But in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins, the Buffalo Sabres defenseman received a taste of what heavy playoff hockey feels like.

“I haven’t been in a playoff game, but it didn’t feel like a regular-season game,” said Dahlin, whose goal 11:53 into the third period tied the game at 2.

Tuesday’s game inside TD Garden was the Sabres’ most physical ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner enjoyed perhaps his best game this season Sunday afternoon. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres rally to stun Flyers; Don Granato making strong case to keep job

On Sunday afternoon, Don Granato said the Buffalo Sabres’ belief they could roar back and win was stronger and more collective than in previous games. The interim coach could feel it up and down the bench.

“More confident speak, less emotional speak,” Granato said after the Sabres rallied to stun the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 at Wells Fargo Center.

The Sabres, who ended their 18-game winless skid March 31, possessed little or no confidence just a ... Read the full article

Rasmus Asplund has scored four goals in only 10 games this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Rasmus Asplund promoted to Sabres’ first line, close to earning regular duty

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Rasmus Asplund said his first taste of the NHL last season exhausted him mentally. The Swede couldn’t let go of what transpired during games. He even had trouble falling asleep.

“I felt last year that I started off my first five games really good but then I got really tired mentally,” Asplund said on a Zoom call following Wednesday’s optional practice.

So in the offseason, Asplund, 23, began developing what he ... Read the full article

Dustin Tokarski zeroes in on New York Rangers winger Julien Gauthier on Thursday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Goalie Dustin Tokarski steals point for Sabres in OT loss: ‘He was spectacular’

BUFFALO – When Sabres goalie Dustin Tokarski left the bench following winger Tage Thompson’s tying goal with 3.6 seconds left, a feel-good story was in the works.

The fatigued Sabres chased Thursday’s game over the final 40 minutes of regulation, generating little offense. They had no business being in the contest against the New York Rangers.

Only Tokarski’s splendid goaltending – he made a career-high 44 saves – kept it close.

Snatching the unlikely win ... Read the full article

Curtis Lazar is Buffalo’s latest center to get injured. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Curtis Lazar’s lower-body injury makes Sabres woefully thin at center

Buffalo Sabres center Curtis Lazar suffered a lower-body injury in Wednesday’s 6-1 win over and the Philadelphia Flyers and is week to week, interim coach Don Granato said.

The Sabres, who host the New York Rangers tonight at KeyBank Center, have become woefully thin down the middle. In addition to Lazar, three other centers – Jack Eichel, Dylan Cozens and Eric Staal – have been injured or traded in the last month.

Granato said he ... Read the full article