After a solid few weeks, the Buffalo Sabres have started reminding everyone why they’ve occupied the NHL’s basement for months.
Saturday’s afternoon’s ugly 6-2 setback to the Boston Bruins was their fourth consecutive loss and fifth in the last six games.
In an outing reminiscent of the Ralph Krueger era, the Sabres looked disjointed all over the ice, allowing the Bruins to throttled them.
On top of their dismal performance, rookie goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen suffered ... Read the full article
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
A month ago, the Buffalo Sabres were in the midst of an embarrassing 18-game winless skid, so finishing April with a 6-8-2 record illustrates their rapid improvement in barely four weeks.
Remember, the Sabres had trouble scoring a single goal most games in February and March. Now, they’ve morphed into a team capable of beating any of their heavyweight East Division opponents.
Of course, they’re not exactly a playoff-caliber team yet. But they’re clearly getting ... Read the full article
As Sam Reinhart’s career progressed and he stayed put at right wing, the odds of the Buffalo Sabres moving him back to center, his natural position, seemed low.
Reinhart, 25, established himself as a perennial 20-goal scorer as a winger. Even after the Sabres traded No. 2 center Ryan O’Reilly in 2018, creating a huge void in the lineup, they kept Reinhart beside top center Jack Eichel.
But a major injury and trades ... Read the full article
Interim Buffalo Sabres coach Don Granato could see how goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s body language displayed his growing confidence.
Nothing, it seems, can frazzle Luukkonen. The rookie looked sharp again throughout his second NHL start, stopping 38 shots in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers inside Madison Square Garden.
The 6-foot-4 Luukkonen challenged shooters, tracked shots through traffic and stood his ground as players whacked at second chances – all signs of the Finn’s ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen looked a little wonky early in his NHL debut, allowing a goal on the first shot he faced barely two minutes into the game. Later in the period, the Boston Bruins hit two goal posts.
But Luukkonen, 22, enjoyed plenty of help for much of Friday’s 6-4 win, allowing him to settle in and grow more comfortable as the night progressed inside KeyBank Center.
The Sabres stymied Boston’s offense ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – At least the Sabres have started drawing penalties. At various times over the past two months, simply getting a man advantage was an accomplishment.
In Thursday’s 5-1 loss to the Boston Bruins, the Sabres enjoyed five power plays. In Tuesday’s 2-0 setback to the Bruins, they had six.
The Sabres have consistently moved their feet and played aggressively to force the Bruins into taking infractions.
They just can’t convert their opportunities. They’re zero ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Forget about goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s last six outings, Rochester Americans coach Seth Appert said.
Yes, Luukkonen, 22, has looked sloppy at times since the Amerks’ COVID-19 pause ended late last month, compiling a 2-3-1 record and an awful .863 save percentage.
But a lot of players struggle after being forced to sit idle. Luukkonen did not play for three weeks.
Appert believes Luukkonen’s early-season exploits and the strong habits he has developed illustrate ... Read the full article
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
BUFFALO – Sabres rookie center Dylan Cozens has quickly reached another phase of his development, adding slick playmaking to his repertoire.
Since Cozens, 20, returned from an upper-body injury Sunday, he has recorded four assists, two more than he compiled in his first 25 games.
Thursday’s 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals was arguably Cozens’ best NHL outing. The Yukon native registered two primary assists, creating goals for wingers Sam Reinhart and Anders Bjork.... Read the full article