Casey Mittelstadt has moved up the depth chart this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Casey Mittelstadt’s development earns him gig as Sabres’ top center

BUFFALO – Shifting Casey Mittelstadt to center wasn’t simply a result of the hapless Sabres trading Eric Staal or Jack Eichel suffering a lower-body injury.

Yes, injuries and Staal’s departure have decimated the Sabres at center. The four who practiced Tuesday inside KeyBank Center – Mittelstadt, Cody Eakin, Curtis Lazar and Riley Sheahan – have combined to score 10 goals and 25 points this season.

Interim coach Don Granato, whose Sabres host the Philadelphia ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen doesn’t think the Sabres play smart hockey. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres fall to Penguins, lose 15th straight: ‘We’re not working smart’

The hapless Buffalo Sabres kept hanging around Wednesday, trailing by one goal late in the second period despite being outshot by nearly a two-to-one margin.

No one, of course, expected the Sabres would win. But right now, they’re so bad a one-goal deficit is noteworthy.

That narrow margin did not last. The Pittsburgh Penguins pulled ahead late in the second period, capitalizing on two miscues from struggling winger Taylor Hall to take a commanding lead ... Read the full article

Carter Hutton (front) screens Jonas Johansson during training camp this year. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres want to find out what they have in goalie Jonas Johansson

BUFFALO – Instead of relying on veteran goalie Carter Hutton last week, the Sabres turned to Jonas Johansson, starting the rookie three straight games.

Johansson even played against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a heavyweight team Hutton has dominated over his eight-year career.

With starting goalie Linus Ullmark injured, the Sabres wanted Johansson, a third-round pick in 2014, to experience a heavy NHL workload.

“It was good for him to see a few games in a ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt has played three straight games. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Casey Mittelstadt developing into dependable forward

BUFFALO – Coach Ralph Krueger noticed it right away this season. Over the year winger Casey Mittelstadt spent away from the Sabres, he had matured.

Mittelstadt’s 36-game stint in the minors last year and the COVID-19 layoff offered him a chance to revamp his body and mind. He arrived at training camp determined to earn back the spot he had lost.

“His attitude from the get-go was different this year,” Krueger said on a Zoom ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens has looked comfortable in the NHL. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Fast development earns Sabres’ Dylan Cozens promotion to No. 1 center

For almost two months, the Buffalo Sabres eased rookie Dylan Cozens into the NHL by playing him at right wing instead of center, his natural position.

Cozens, 20, kept seizing his opportunities, moving up the lineup and becoming one coach Ralph Krueger’s most trusted forwards just weeks into his career.

So when the upper-body injury captain Jack Eichel suffered Sunday afternoon kept him from playing Tuesday, instead of promoting a veteran, Krueger tabbed Cozens to ... Read the full article

Philadelphia’s Scott Laughton scores on Buffalo goalie Carter Hutton on Saturday afternoon. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres get blanked by Flyers; Ralph Krueger says lineup changes coming

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ grueling schedule doesn’t let up for weeks. Fresh off Saturday afternoon’s ugly 3-0 loss to Philadelphia, they play the Flyers again today, their ninth game in 14 days since their COVID-19 pause ended.

The Sabres, incredibly, don’t have two consecutive days off until the first week of April. They have four more games next week. The jam-packed slate doesn’t offer them an opportunity to reset and enjoy any quality practice time.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel is questionable for this weekend. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Jack Eichel questionable for weekend; Sabres could have reinforcements

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark will likely miss this weekend’s two-game series against the Philadelphia Flyers, coach Ralph Krueger said. Meanwhile, captain Jack Eichel is questionable for the home contests.

Both players have lower-body injuries and did not practice today inside KeyBank Center.

Ullmark, the Sabres’ No. 1 goalie, left Thursday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils after the first period. Kruger said Ullmark was having X-rays done this afternoon.

“We’re not ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart has scored in two straight games. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres generate more offense, still fall to Islanders for third time in week

Against a tight New York Islanders team knowing for neutralizing the opposition, the Buffalo Sabres finally broke through Monday, pumping 36 shots on goalie Semyon Varlamov.

The Sabres struggled offensively in two home losses to the Islanders last week, scoring just one goal. But Monday inside Nassau Coliseum, they consistently cracked the Islanders’ rigid structure, generating a slew of chances.

Still, the Sabres couldn’t finish their opportunities, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s goal 15:08 into the third ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens said he tested positive for COVID-19. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Three more Sabres back from COVID-19; Rasmus Ristolainen still out

Sabres rookie Dylan Cozens started doing the math in his head. After testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, he was forced to quarantine for the third time in less than three months.

“I was just adding up the days,” Cozens said on a Zoom call this afternoon from Washington. “Since Nov. 25, I’ve quarantined for 35 days or something, just in a hotel room. So it’s been a lot, for sure.”

Cozens, 20, also ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe missed Monday’s game. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Jake McCabe, Brandon Montour ready to play, but lineup still unclear

Jack McCabe and Brandon Montour have been cleared to play, so the Buffalo Sabres defensemen will be in tonight’s lineup against the New York Islanders, right?

Well, Sabres coach Ralph Krueger wouldn’t reveal if McCabe and Montour, both of whom tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, will play.

“It doesn’t really give us any advantage to reveal our final decisions,” Krueger said on a Zoom call following this morning’s optional skate at KeyBank Center.... Read the full article