Johan Larsson (22) battles Pittsburgh’s Rob Scuderi on Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Johan Larsson transformed game late in season

BUFFALO – Three months ago, when the Sabres seemingly banished Johan Larsson to the minors, the 22-year-old’s future here seemed iffy.

Upon arriving in Rochester, Larsson complained about playing on the fourth line with the Sabres, something that angered coach Ted Nolan, who basically told Larsson to shut his mouth.

At that point, Larsson had one goal and six points in 41 NHL games.

Larsson entered Saturday’s season finale against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a 2-0 ... Read the full article

Anders Lindback will make his third straight start. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ted Nolan not ready for Sabres’ season to be over

BUFFALO – Some quick Sabres updates from First Niagara Center prior to the season finale against the Pittsburgh Penguins:

– The Sabres will use the same lineup that lost 4-2 on Friday in Columbus, so goalie Anders Lindback will make his third straight start.

“He’s a big horse, and he’s been playing well,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said this afternoon. “Right now, he deserves it.”

Backup goalie Matt Hackett, who’s been battling soreness, will dress ... Read the full article

Mikhail Grigorenko celebrates his first-period goal Monday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres hold on for tight win over Hurricanes

BUFFALO – Emotionally, the Sabres’ 4-3 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes was a difficult game to play in, coach Ted Nolan said.

The bottom-feeders were skating for pride Monday. They Sabres were trying to stave off clinching 30th place for the second consecutive season.

“When you’re out of the playoffs and you’re trying to lift that emotional level up, it’s quite a challenge,” Nolan said following the Sabres’ third win in the last five ... Read the full article

Matt Moulson will return tonight after missing two games. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres have fought to finish

BUFFALO – For weeks, even months, the Sabres have gone all-out most nights, refusing to check out of their lost season.

They’re 2-3-1 in their last six games. On Saturday, they lost 3-0 to the New York Islanders, a game closer than the score indicated. On Friday, they fell 4-3 to the Chicago Blackhawks after blowing a late lead.

The Sabres, who host the Carolina Hurricanes tonight, just took two strong playoff teams to the ... Read the full article

Johan Larsson tips the puck past Chicago goalie Scott Darling on Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Blackhawks’ late rally stuns Sabres

BUFFALO – In 47 seconds late Friday, the mood inside the First Niagara Center changed dramatically. The Sabres fans worrying their team would pull its most unlikely upset this trying season felt relieved as mighty Chicago Blackhawks quickly roared back.

When Chicago star Jonathan Toews tied it with 1:43 left, the building, which was filled with red Blackhawks jerseys, erupted.

Some hometown fans who had remained quiet as the Sabres erased an early 2-0 deficit ... Read the full article

Matt Moulson (26) could miss tonight’s game. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Matt Moulson sick; Sabres might need to recall player; Update: Tim Schaller recalled

BUFFALO – Winger Matt Moulson woke up this morning feeling ill. Meanwhile, defenseman Mike Weber woke up feeling sore.

The Sabres don’t have an extra forward. Rochester is playing tonight in Iowa, so recalling one for tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks won’t be easy.

What will the Sabres do?

“That’s a big question,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

The Sabres haven’t ruled Moulson out. Defenseman Tyson Strachan ... Read the full article

Tyler Ennis (63) jostles with Florida’s Brian Campbell earlier this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Tyler Ennis ready to play; Rasmus Ristolainen sick

BUFFALO – Sometimes, Sabres winger Tyler Ennis said, he has to realize he’s only 5-foot-5 and not a 6-foot-3 behemoth. Trying to thump a larger opponent usually isn’t the best idea.

Ennis, who’s listed at 5-foot-9, went after someone bigger Thursday and paid the price, suffering an upper-body injury. The Sabres’ top offensive threat missed two games but will return tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Maybe I got to tone down the hits,” Ennis ... Read the full article

Sabres goalie Anders Lindback tries to stop New Jersey’s Steve Bernier (18) with Andre Benoit’s (61) help March 20. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres could still finish 29th, lose guarantee of elite prospect

BUFFALO – Just like that, 29th place – a precarious spot that wouldn’t guarantee the Sabres either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, the mega-draft prospects they covet – is back in play.

Sorry, fans, the race isn’t over yet. The Sabres’ 4-1 victory Monday in Arizona moved them to within four points of the Coyotes, who looked awful throughout the night.

The 30th-place Sabres also have a game in hand, so ... Read the full article

Andrey Makarov has never played an NHL game. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres recall goalie Andrey Makarov from Amerks

The Buffalo Sabres recalled goalie Andrey Makarov from Rochester this afternoon, hours before their road game against the Arizona Coyotes.

The 21-year-old Russian is 15-17-3 with a 2.98 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage in 37 games with the AHL Americans.

Sabres goalie Matt Hackett, who relieved Anders Lindback in Saturday’s 5-3 loss in Colorado, has been banged up and feeling sore after games. It’s unclear if Hackett’s injured.

Makarov has been recalled before ... Read the full article

Arizona goalie Mike Smith pokes the puck away from Tyler Ennis on Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Tyler Ennis enjoying special season

BUFFALO – Sometimes you focus so much on the future, Sabres coach Ted Nolan said, the present can easily be forgotten about.

When the rebuilding Sabres surround Tyler Ennis with better talent in the coming years, the slick winger could become one of the NHL’s elite talents.

But right now, the 25-year-old, who will likely miss tonight’s game with an upper-body injury, is a special player. The former first-round pick is often the Sabres’ only ... Read the full article