Sabres’ checking trio stymies potent Evgeni Malkin line

BUFFALO – Rather than merely shadowing Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Evgeni Malkin and his wingers Sunday afternoon, Sabres center Paul Gaustad and his checking line planned to aggressively shut down one of the NHL’s best trios.

Gaustad, Nathan Gerbe and Patrick Kaleta – charged with stopping the NHL’s leading scorer, 30-goal man James Neal and Chris Kunitz – would dictate the play.

“We didn’t want to back off on them. If we backed off, it gives ... Read the full article

Shootout loss to Habs knocks Sabres into last place

BUFFALO – Throughout their dizzying two-month run of injuries, as the Sabres plummeted down the Eastern Conference standings, they kept using the missing regulars as a crutch.

Coach Lindy Ruff said he didn’t want to make excuses, yet repeated how he wanted his team back. Then owner Terry Pegula took it a step further, saying they had to “get Humpty back together.”

Well, the Sabres essentially fielded their normal team for the 10th straight ... Read the full article

Habs coach Cunneyworth experiencing difficult acclimation to Montreal

BUFFALO – Jason Pominville grew up in Quebec and still makes his offseason home there. The bilingual Sabres captain knows the Montreal Canadiens market well. He understands “the circumstances of the public wanting a French-speaking coach.”

“But at the same time,” Pominville said Friday morning inside the First Niagara Center, “I don’t think you can pass up a guy that could be your best option even though he doesn’t speak the language.”

Randy Cunneyworth, the ... Read the full article

Tyler Ennis has only four goals in 22 games this season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ anemic offense could become team’s worst ever

“I’m sure that again we’ll finish the year around (240 goals).” – Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, December 15, 2011

“I guarantee you it’ll come again. It always has.” – Ruff on his anemic offense, January 23

BUFFALO – Not long ago, Ruff could speak confidently because the post-lockout Sabres had always found ways to score. They annually overcame any struggles and ranked among the NHL’s slickest attacks, averaging 256 goals a year.

But the ... Read the full article

Penalties doom Sabres in loss to Devils

BUFFALO – The five triumphs in six games, the recent three-game winning streak, it was probably all just a tease. At this point, the 14th-place Sabres can’t be postseason contenders, can they? Are they really going to leapfrog six teams and nab the last spot?

In their second straight home loss, a weak 4-1 decision to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, the Sabres lacked oomph, taking a season-high seven minor penalties while ... Read the full article