Anders Bjork has played 13 games with Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Anders Bjork feeling comfortable with Sabres, earns promotion to top line

BUFFALO – In a 14-minute stretch Tuesday, Sabres newcomer Anders Bjork erased the New York Islanders’ lead, scoring two goals.

First, Bjork redirected defenseman Colin Miller’s point shot past Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin late in the second period. Then Bjork scored from the right circle 10:56 into the third period, tying a game the Sabres would win 4-3 in a shootout.

What do both goals have in common? Bjork, 24, created them by tenaciously ... Read the full article

Arttu Ruotsalainen has quickly earned regular duty in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres rookie Arttu Ruotsalainen scoring, earning keep in NHL

When Don Granato arrived in Buffalo as an assistant in 2019, the idea of someday coaching a relatively unknown Sabres prospect named Arttu Ruotsalainen intrigued him.

Granato, now Buffalo’s interim coach, only watched Ruotsalainen, 23, up close for a few weeks in training camp. The Finn’s contract stipulated he had to return to Ilves, his Liiga team, if he did not make the Sabres last season.

Still, Granato’s brief time around the 5-foot-9, 185-pound ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart scored his team-leading 21st goal Sunday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres settle down after awful start, avert blowout against Rangers

Don Granato likes to joke that he talks about offense much more than defense. But the interim Buffalo Sabres coach, of course, stresses the less glamorous side of hockey.

“Even though I don’t speak of defense a lot, it’s a cornerstone,” Granato said on a Zoom call following Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. “I’ve joked around a little bit I don’t say it, but don’t underestimate how important ... Read the full article

Dustin Tokarski has played seven games this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres goalie Dustin Tokarski dedicates first NHL win since 2015 to late father

When the final horn sounded and Dustin Tokarski earned his first NHL victory since 2015, the Buffalo Sabres goalie stayed in his crease and pointed his glove to rafters.

Moments later, Tokarski’s excited teammates assembled in front of him, and one by one they each congratulated him, giving him some kind words and a tap on the mask.

“It was pretty incredible, to be honest,” an emotional Tokarski said following Thursday’s 5-2 win over the ... Read the full article

Henri Jokiharju (pictured) enjoys playing beside Rasmus Dahlin. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Henri Jokiharju shaking off poor stretch, playing confidently

BUFFALO – Barely a year after Henri Jokiharju established himself as one of the Sabres’ top defensemen, he started struggling so badly he was demoted to the taxi squad.

Jokiharju, 21, sat out 10 games earlier this season. At times, he looked nothing like the steady defender from 2019-20.

But Jokiharju has settled down under interim Sabres coach Don Granato, showcasing more confidence beside Rasmus Dahlin, his partner over the last eight games.

Jokiharju ... Read the full article

New Jersey’s Miles Wood and Buffalo’s Brandon Montour battle in front of goalie Linus Ullmark on Thursday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres battle back against Devils, still lose: ‘We just didn’t have it’

BUFFALO – A few weeks ago, an early two-goal deficit like the Sabres experienced Thursday against the New Jersey Devils would’ve been insurmountable.

They would’ve folded and gone down meekly.

But over the past week or so, the Sabres have morphed into, well, a somewhat normal team. Yes, they’re still one of the NHL’s lightweights, but they’re much more competitive.

While Thursday’s 6-3 loss inside KeyBank Center ended their two-game winning streak and five-game point ... Read the full article

Rasmus Dahlin created Tuesday’s winning power-play goal. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Power play in rut; Don Granato ‘doing something special’

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

Arttu Ruotsalainen has compiled 13 points in 13 games with Rochester. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres make roster moves, recall Arttu Ruotsalainen from Amerks

BUFFALO – The Sabres this afternoon recalled forward prospect Arttu Ruotsalainen to the taxi squad and assigned forward Jean-Sebastien Dea from the taxi squad to the Rochester Americans.

Ruotsalainen, 23, has enjoyed a terrific rookie season with the Amerks, scoring five goals and 13 points in 13 games. He just compiled two goals and five points in two weekend outings against the Syracuse Crunch.

Before the North American seasons started, Ruotsalainen starred for Ilves, a ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt scored Saturday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres finally winning again, playing confidently: ‘It’s all come together’

BUFFALO – In barely a week, the Sabres have transformed from the NHL’s laughingstock into a team that plays a fast, active brand of hockey.

Right now, they’re creating offense, limiting chances against and – believe it or not – are pretty exciting to watch. They look nothing like the hapless team that just endured an embarrassing 18-game winless streak.

Interim coach Don Granato has the Sabres playing to their strengths and feeling confident. After ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart scored the first goal in Wednesday’s win. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres finally end winless streak, beat Flyers: ‘Everybody stepped up’

BUFFALO – Instead of addressing the Sabres during Wednesday’s second intermission, interim coach Don Granato left his players alone.

No words of encouragement. Not even a tactical point or two.

The game was playing out eerily similar to Monday’s. Granato, whose Sabres also held a three-goal that night over the Philadelphia Flyers, wanted his players to take over.

“I wouldn’t have handed it off to them if I wasn’t confident that they could do it ... Read the full article