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

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

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen played well in his NHL debut Friday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Pressure accompanies Ukko-Pekka Luukkonnen’s second start with Sabres

Interim Buffalo Sabres coach Don Granato knows goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will feel more pressure in his second NHL start.

Luukkonen looked sharp in his debut, stopping 36 shots in Friday’s 6-4 home win over the Boston Bruins. Now, the Finn must face the New York Rangers, who beat the Sabres 6-3 on Sunday, inside Madison Square Garden.

“Even the second game there’s still pressure,” Granato said on a Zoom call this morning. “You finish the ... Read the full article

Dustin Tokarski will make his 10th start tonight. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres want Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to watch; Will Borgen to be scratched

Instead of playing goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen again tonight, interim Buffalo Sabres coach Don Granato wants to let the rookie examine the New York York Rangers up close.

So Luukkonen, 22, will watch tonight’s game at Madison Square Garden as a backup. Veteran Dustin Tokarski will start his 10th game this season.

Luukkonen looked sharp in his NHL debut Friday, stopping 36 shots in a 6-4 win over the Boston Bruins. The Finn watched two ... Read the full article

Buffalo drafted Matej Pekar in the fourth round in 2018. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Matej Pekar uses fight with Amerks to generate confidence

BUFFALO – Sabres prospect Matej Pekar wanted to agitate Brett Gallant, so as they awaited a faceoff at center ice, he bumped into the AHL’s premier tough guy.

Gallant, of course, retaliated, cross-checking Pekar near his neck. A second later, Pekar, a rookie forward with the Americans, dropped the gloves for the first time as a pro.

Meanwhile, Gallant, a veteran with the Cleveland Monsters, registered his 107th AHL fight, according to hockeyfights.com.

It ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (pictured) will back up Dustin Tokarski again tonight. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to start Friday; Sabres to make lineup change

Top Buffalo Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will start his first NHL game Friday against the Boston Bruins, coach Don Granato said this morning.

Dustin Tokarski will play tonight versus the Bruins at KeyBank Center, giving Luukkonen, 22, another opportunity to watch a game from the bench as a backup.

The Finn dressed for his first NHL contest Tuesday, a 2-0 loss to the Bruins.

“It’s better for UPL to see one more night,” Granato ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has spent this season developing in Rochester. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen thrilled for first opportunity with Sabres

BUFFALO – Not since Ryan Miller arrived here in 2002 has a goaltender’s debut been so highly anticipated. After less than two seasons in the minors, top Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is verge of starting his first NHL game.

Luukkonen, of course, likely won’t stick in the big leagues for long. Most goalies take years to mature, and the Finn, 22, has only played 25 AHL games.

Just look at Miller, the Sabres’ all-time ... Read the full article

Will Borgen was injured Feb. 20. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Will Borgen nearing return, close to becoming NHL regular

BUFFALO – When Sabres defenseman Will Borgen blocked a shot with his right forearm Feb. 20 in New Jersey, he had no idea it had been fractured.

“They just kind of stitched it up because it was bleeding a little bit,” Borgen said on a Zoom call prior to Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to the Boston Bruins. “I didn’t have an excuse to not play at the time.”

So Borgen, 24, finished the Sabres’ 3-2 win ... Read the full article

Brandon Montour played 112 games with the Sabres. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Dealing Brandon Montour to Panthers likely only Sabres’ first deadline trade

BUFFALO – Defenseman Brandon Montour, like so many of the Sabres’ other notable acquisitions in recent years, left town having never sniffed the playoffs.

The Sabres on Saturday traded Montour, who turns 27 today, to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a third-round pick in 2021.

Barely two years ago, ex-Sabres general manager Jason Botterill paid a steep price for Montour, sending defense prospect Brendan Guhle and a first-round pick to the Anaheim ... Read the full article