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
As late as Monday, Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams held out a sliver hope injured captain Jack Eichel could return and play some late-season games.
But on Wednesday, the Sabres announced Eichel, 24, will miss the rest of the season recovering from a herniated disc in his neck.
The Sabres expect Eichel will be healthy and ready for the start of next season. Interim coach Don Granato said he doesn’t know if Eichel needs ... Read the full article
On Sunday afternoon, Don Granato said the Buffalo Sabres’ belief they could roar back and win was stronger and more collective than in previous games. The interim coach could feel it up and down the bench.
“More confident speak, less emotional speak,” Granato said after the Sabres rallied to stun the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 at Wells Fargo Center.
The Sabres, who ended their 18-game winless skid March 31, possessed little or no confidence just a ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In his first 12 games as interim coach, Don Granato’s most telling accomplishment has been his ability to unlock potential from several of the Sabres’ young players who struggled to stay in the lineup earlier this season.
Consider that in Friday’s 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals, center Casey Mittelstadt, defenseman Henri Jokiharju and winger Tage Thompson scored for the Sabres inside KeyBank Center.
All three players are 23 or under and spent ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In 2014, following forward Drake Caggiula’s sophomore season at North Dakota, he attended the Sabres’ summer development camp, scoring two goals in the annual scrimmage.
Two years later, after Caggiula won a national championship and earned NCAA Tournament MVP honors, the Sabres pursued him as a free agent before he chose the Edmonton Oilers.
This afternoon, Caggiula joined the Sabres after they claimed him on waivers from the Arizona Coyotes.
The 5-foot-10, 176-pound ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres winger Rasmus Asplund said his first taste of the NHL last season exhausted him mentally. The Swede couldn’t let go of what transpired during games. He even had trouble falling asleep.
“I felt last year that I started off my first five games really good but then I got really tired mentally,” Asplund said on a Zoom call following Wednesday’s optional practice.
So in the offseason, Asplund, 23, began developing what he ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In the early days of the season, the Sabres’ potent power play carried them, accounting for a whopping 50% of their goals over the first 17 games.
But since that scorching start – the Sabres scored 19 times and converted an NHL-best 36.4% of their chances – they’ve been downright awful, mustering just two power-play goals in 38 tries in the last 21 outings.
That’s just 5.3%, the league’s worst number over that ... Read the full article
Over the last week, Rasmus Dahlin has morphed into a dynamic defenseman again, shaking off three dreadful months to help ignite the Buffalo Sabres.
Dahlin, 20, enjoyed his best night this trying season in Tuesday’s 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils inside Prudential Center. After tying the game in the second period, he corralled a bouncing puck inside the blue line and deftly created center Casey Mittelstadt’s game-winning power-play goal 10:20 into the third.... Read the full article