Michael Houser stops a shot in Tuesday’s win. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Goalie Michael Houser stands out again, helps Sabres win shootout

BUFFALO – Hours before Michael Houser’s second NHL start, interim Sabres coach Don Granato said he wasn’t concerned about his goalie becoming fatigued.

Coaches, of course, rarely use the same goalie on back-to-back nights. The position is simply too taxing.

But Granato, having lost his other goalies, needed Houser again Tuesday, a night after his big league debut. It was also his first game at any level in nearly 14 months.

Granato was confident ... Read the full article

Stefanos Lekkas recently joined Rochester. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Ex-Vermont goalie Stefanos Lekkas grateful for time with Sabres

BUFFALO – On April 10 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, goalie Stefanos Lekkas played his last game for the Komets, an ECHL team, allowing five goals in a loss to the Indy Fuel.

Twenty-three days later, Lekkas was in the NHL, serving as Sabres rookie Michael Houser’s backup for Monday’s 4-2 win over the New York Islanders at KeyBank Center.

The memories of the night will forever be seared in Lekkas’ head.

“Just to go through ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen recently played his first four NHL games.

Sabres to be without three goalies rest of season

The Buffalo Sabres will be without goalies Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Dustin Tokarski and Carter Hutton for the final three games this season, interim coach Don Granato said.

Luukkonen, 22, left Saturday afternoon’s 6-2 loss to the Boston Bruins after getting his left skate caught on the goal post.

Granato did not have much information on the Finn, who was examined Monday.

“As far as the details of the report, I don’t have those,” Granato said ... Read the full article

Buffalo goalie Michael Houser is embraced after Monday’s win by teammates Will Borgen (left) and Rasmus Ristolainen. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres goalie Michael Houser shines in NHL debut: ‘A very special night’

BUFFALO – Eight teams, nine seasons and 284 games into his pro career, Sabres goalie Michael Houser made his NHL debut, stopping 34 shots in Monday’s 4-2 come-from-behind win over the New York Islanders.

In a dreadful year in which the Sabres could finish dead last again, Houser’s first big league start created a feel-good story that provided some excitement and intrigue to a meaningless late-season game.

Houser, 28, has spent most of his career ... Read the full article

Michael Houser has spent nine seasons in the minors. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres goalie Michael Houser to realize dream with first NHL start

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Michael Houser toiled nine years in the minors, playing 283 games, most of them in the ECHL, for seven teams before an opportunity to start an NHL game materialized.

Tonight against the New York Islanders at KeyBank Center, Houser, 28, will make his NHL debut, interim coach Don Granato said. Houser will be the sixth Sabres goalie to start a game this season.

Houser has spent most of the past seven ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark hasn’t played since April 13. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark’s return to ice ‘very pleasant surprise’

BUFFALO – After a lower-body injury sidelined goalie Linus Ullmark 15 games, he returned in late March and quickly morphed into the Sabres’ backbone again.

Then on April 13 in Boston, Ullmark, in his eighth appearance back, suffered a lower-body ailment stretching to make a save in the opening minutes. At first, he tried to play through the pain.

“When the pain never subsided and it was getting worse and worse, I couldn’t find any ... Read the full article

Michael Houser is receiving his first taste of the NHL with Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres goalie Michael Houser enjoying first taste of NHL: ‘Cool experiences’

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Michael Houser arrived at the visiting dressing room that night six weeks ago in Madison Square Garden sweating.

Minutes earlier, Houser, 28, had been watching the action against the New York Rangers from a suite with other members of the team’s taxi squad.

Then Carter Hutton suffered a lower-body injury less than three minutes into the game, meaning Houser, the emergency backup, had to rush downstairs and get ready.

“I had ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner hadn’t scored a goal since Feb. 29, 2020. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Jeff Skinner finally scores, but Sabres lose seventh straight: ‘Not a fun time’

As their three-game set against the New York Islanders mercifully neared its end Sunday afternoon, the hapless Buffalo Sabres finally started displaying some signs of life.

After falling behind 3-0, winger Jeff Skinner’s first goal since Feb. 29, 2020 jumpstarted the Sabres 5:41 into the third period. Defenseman Colin Miller’s goal at 9:35 moved them within one.

Suddenly, the Sabres were pushing for the tying score inside Nassau Coliseum. And then a sequence that sums ... Read the full article

The Sabres assigned defenseman Henri Jokiharju to the taxi squad on Sunday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

‘Sophomore’ slump hurting Sabres’ Henri Jokiharju

Last season, his first in Buffalo, defenseman Henri Jokiharju morphed into the Sabres’ biggest surprise, showcasing a steady style that earned him coach Ralph Krueger’s trust.

So naturally, Jokiharju, 21, wants to advance his game this year and develop his offensive side.

“It’s part of the development for a young defenseman to come in and be very conservative and then try to build a more attacking, offensive game on top of that,” Krueger said on ... Read the full article

Henri Jokiharju has struggled this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres send Henri Jokiharju to taxi squad, recall two players

The reeling Buffalo Sabres this morning assigned defenseman Henri Jokiharju to the taxi squad and recalled forward Casey Mittelstadt and defenseman Brandon Davidson from the practice group.

The Sabres, who have lost six straight games, play a road contest this afternoon against the New York Islanders.

Jokiharju, 21, was perhaps the Sabres’ biggest surprise last season, playing all 69 games. But the Finn has struggled to regain that form this year. He sat out Saturday ... Read the full article