Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen makes a save Sunday afternoon with teammate Jacob Bryson nearby. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stymies Avs, records first NHL shutout

BUFFALO – Fair or not, the knock on Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is his inability to make big saves at critical times.

In his 50-game career, the Finn hasn’t delivered many of those momentum-changing stops that might preserve a lead or keep a contest tied or within striking distance.

That’s why Luukkonen’s superb save on star Mikko Rantanen with the game tied at 0 early in Sunday afternoon’s 4-0 win holds so much significance.

The ... Read the full article

Devin Cooley, shown here in training camp, began the season in training camp. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

With Sabres goalie Eric Comrie injured, Devin Cooley earns first NHL recall; Buffalo changes up lines

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Eric Comrie’s lower-body injury will likely sideline him at least few weeks, general manger Kevyn Adams said. Meanwhile, rookie Devon Levi is still recovering from his lower-body injury.

So on Saturday, the Sabres, the same team forced to scratch a healthy goalie four times earlier this season, recalled Devin Cooley on an emergency basis from the Rochester Americans.

Cooley, 26, will back up Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen for this afternoon’s game against the ... Read the full article

Tage Thompson and Mattias Samuelsson celebrate Dylan Cozens’ goal Saturday. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres deliver signature effort in win over Islanders: ‘Absolutely phenomenal’

BUFFALO – As the Sabres struggled out of the gate, they rarely played to their identity – a fast, relentless attack – and dropped three of their first four games.

Another loss would’ve moved their underwhelming start into the concerning category. More than a week into the season, they hadn’t had a signature effort.

Well, they finally showcased what makes them so dangerous in Saturday’s 3-1 win over the New York Islanders, a game not ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens usually plays center. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres change lines in midst of slow start, insist they won’t panic

BUFFALO – For the time being, Dylan Cozens might be a winger again, having joined Sabres center Tage Thompson and Jordan Greenway on a line during Friday’s practice.

Of course, in the near future, Cozens will likely shift back to center, his natural position. The Yukon native, fresh off a 31-goal breakout season, is a budding star. Thompson and Cozens give the Sabres one of the NHL’s best one-two punches down the middle.

But having ... Read the full article

Zach Benson skates his “rookie lap” Thursday prior to his NHL debut. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

‘Mature game’ helping Sabres rookie Zach Benson make fast impact

BUFFALO – Some top prospects carry what Sabres captain Kyle Okposo called “a naivety” into pro hockey. They’ve grown up as the best player on their team, so graduating to the sport’s highest levels doesn’t intimidate them.

“There’s no learning curve of the (AHL) where it’s like, ‘This is pro hockey,’” Okposo said following Monday’s practice in KeyBank Center. “It’s like, ‘No, I’ve always been the best player and this is what I do.’ And ... Read the full article

Jordan Greenway joined Buffalo late last season. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Jordan Greenway healthy, ready to be heavy power forward

BUFFALO – In his short run here last season, Sabres winger Jordan Greenway rarely performed like he did throughout Thursday’s season opening loss.

Greenway – all 6-foot-6 and 231 pounds of him – couldn’t be missed during the 5-1 setback to the New York Rangers at KeyBank Center. He played aggressively all night, enjoying perhaps his best outing since his arrival from the Minnesota Wild.

By the end of game, he had skated 16 minutes, ... Read the full article

Buffalo goalie Devon Levi watches the puck as teammate Erik Johnson (6) battles the Rangers’ Chris Kreider. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres fall in early hole, lose opener; Zach Benson sharp in NHL debut

BUFFALO – A 2-0 deficit early in the first period. Just nine shots on goal more than halfway through the game.

At times, Thursday’s highly anticipated season opener felt like a throwback to the Sabres’ dreary days of the not-so-distant past.

They got going a bit as the game progressed, scoring late in the second period and making things interesting against the New York Rangers. Still, it was too little, too late, and they fell ... Read the full article

Rick Jeanneret called games for 51 years. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres to honor Rick Jeanneret with special uniform patch

BUFFALO – The Sabres will be wearing special “RJ” patches on their jersey this season to honor legendary broadcaster Rick Jeanneret, the team announced Wednesday.

Jeanneret, who called games for 51 years before retiring in 2022, died Aug. 17 at 81.

In addition, the Sabres and Buffalo Common Council will be dedicating a trailblazing sign to Jeanneret at 4 p.m. outside Alumni Plaza prior to tonight’s season opener against the New York Rangers at ... Read the full article

Zach Benson’s terrific play forced Buffalo to make a difficult decision. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Defense helped Sabres’ Zach Benson grab roster spot: ‘He earned it’

BUFFALO – Zach Benson’s offensive production did not earn him a roster spot. Sure, leading the Sabres in preseason scoring helped the rookie stand out. But to crack the NHL at 18, he needed to grasp a different side of hockey.

“He could be as prolific as anybody offensively, but if he didn’t have … defensive instincts, (was) positionally pretty sound, he wouldn’t be on the roster, he just wouldn’t,” Sabres coach Don Granato said ... Read the full article

Zach Benson (9) skates in Friday’s preseason game. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Zach Benson scores again, caps terrific preseason: ‘Done very well’

BUFFALO – By Monday at 5 p.m., Sabres prospect Zach Benson will know if his impressive preseason – he scored a team-high four goals and seven points – earned him an NHL roster spot.

The rookie scored again and recorded an assist in Friday’s finale, a 7-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at KeyBank Center in which the Sabres blew a 3-1 second-period lead.

More on the game later.

Having been selected 13th overall this ... Read the full article