Victor Olofsson scores his first-period goal Monday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres answer coach Don Granato’s intermission challenge, beat Lightning

BUFFALO – In previous seasons, a message like Don Granato had for the Sabres during Monday’s second intermission might’ve been quickly forgotten or even dismissed.

But part of what makes this current group so different – besides the fact it has actually been, you know, winning – is it wants to hear from Granato and his staff. The players want to be challenged.

“Sometimes you’d love to give message and you can’t give it to ... Read the full article

Buffalo coach Don Granato (pictured) has earned respect from Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Lightning’s Jon Cooper traces Sabres’ early success to Don Granato

BUFFALO – Having both piloted the same junior franchise to a championship, Sabres coach Don Granato and Jon Cooper, his counterpart with the Tampa Bay Lightning, are part of a small fraternity.

In 1995-96, Granato led the Green Bay Gamblers to the Clark Cup, the United States Hockey League’s championship. He stayed in Green Bay another year – he wanted to try to win back-to-back Cups – before parlaying his time there into a ... Read the full article

Craig Anderson will start tonight. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Don Granato wants Sabres to be true to identity: ‘A lot of potential there’

BUFFALO – A lot has changed since the Sabres last faced the Tampa Bay Lightning on Dec. 31, 2019.

There was a global pandemic. The Sabres changed regimes, plummeted to the bottom of the NHL again and hired a new coach. The Lightning, meanwhile, won two Stanley Cups.

The Lightning, the Sabres’ Atlantic Division rival, have become the NHL’s bellwether franchise.

If the Sabres want to go anywhere, they have to knock off the Lightning.... Read the full article

Rasmus Dahlin has been earning lots of ice time. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin maturing, responding to adversity within games

BUFFALO – Early in Friday’s 4-1 loss, Brad Marchand pressured Rasmus Dahlin behind the net, forcing him to cough up the puck. A second later, the Bruins star knocked the Sabres defenseman down and fed linemate David Pastrnak for the game’s first goal.

The turnover was one of a few gaffes Dahlin, 21, committed during a rough first period. But the Swede settled down and ended up playing a game-high 25 minutes, 4 seconds against ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe (19) and Marcus Johansson (90) were dejected Tuesday. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Stunner: Sabres blow three-goal lead, fall to Lightning

BUFFALO – Halfway through Tuesday’s shocking 6-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Sabres captain Jack Eichel showcased why he might be underutilized as a penalty killer.

With the Sabres up 3-1, Eichel pounced on a loose puck in his own zone and zoomed down the ice. When the slick center hit the right circle, he undressed defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk before skating through the slot and backhanding a shot by goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy for his ... Read the full article

Curtis Lazar enjoys playing center. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Curtis Lazar thriving back at center

BUFFALO – Curtis Lazar loves playing center. After thriving back at his natural position a year ago with the Stockton Heat, the Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate, he talked to the Sabres during free agency about remaining there.

“All my conversations during the summer said I’d be down the middle, and then I come to camp and played strictly wing,” said Lazar, who signed a one-year, $700,000 contract July 1. “I’m honestly fine with whatever. I ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel has played at an MVP level this season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu

NHL All-Star Jack Eichel enjoying one of greatest seasons in Sabres history

BUFFALO – Sabres captain Jack Eichel’s selection to the NHL All-Star Game, of course, was a no-brainer.

Eichel’s fifth NHL season has quickly become his best. Right now, he ranks among the game’s elite stars.

The slick center has already scored 24 goals, just four off his career high, and 52 points in 39 games. He’s tied for third in NHL goal scoring and is seventh in points entering tonight’s game against the Tampa ... Read the full article

Dalton Smith played 400 pro games before earning his first trip to the NHL. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

With Lightning up next, Sabres ready to utilize tough guy Dalton Smith

BUFFALO – Long before the Sabres signed him to a two-way contract Monday, Dalton Smith seemed destined to reach the NHL.

In 2010, the Columbus Blue Jackets drafted the 6-foot-2, 210-pound winger 34th overall. Second-round picks, of course, are expected to make the big leagues.

But Smith’s road to the NHL would be long and arduous.

His stint as a bonafide prospect was short. After spending two seasons with Columbus’ AHL affiliate, he started bouncing ... Read the full article

Rasmus Dahlin has recorded 16 points this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Rasmus Dahlin’s concussion another worry for struggling Sabres

BUFFALO – Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin often struggled in the Sabres’ first 24 games this season, looking like a youngster in need of a confidence boost.

Still, Dahlin, who suffered a concussion in Monday’s 5-2 road loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning when Erik Cernak elbowed him in the face, is a dynamic talent. The reeling Sabres sorely need him in the lineup.

Update: Dahlin is out indefinitely, according to the Sabres.

The Sabres haven’t given ... Read the full article

Rasmus Dahlin is a dynamic talent. ©2019, Hickling Images

Erik Cernak suspended two games for elbowing Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin

BUFFALO – The NHL has suspended Erik Cernak two games for his elbow to the face that concussed Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin in Monday’s 5-2 road loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The reeling Sabres haven’t given an update on Dahlin, who left the game with about 2:30 remaining in the second period. They had today off following their 10th loss in 12 games (2-8-2).

With the Sabres on the power play, Cernak, a defenseman, ... Read the full article