BUFFALO – Almost halfway through Monday afternoon’s embarrassing 4-3 loss, the Sabres had the Anaheim Ducks on the ropes.
At that point, the Sabres had dominated the Ducks, outshooting them by about 20 as they generated a slew of prime scoring chances, including some breakaways.
Fourteen seconds after center Tage Thompson’s power-play goal put the Sabres’ up 2-1, the Ducks took another penalty.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The confidence Sabres center Peyton Krebs displayed in grabbing the puck in his own zone, roaring up the ice and undressing a defender at the blue line has taken years to develop.
In junior hockey, sure, Krebs’ skill would allow him take over a game like he did in the second period of Thursday’s 4-0 loss to the Florida Panthers. But in the NHL, Sabres coach Don Granato explained, he has been “building ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – This is nothing new for Tage Thompson. The Sabres center has battled adversity – a trade, demotion, unmet expectations and more – throughout his career.
Each experience shaped Thompson, 26, and last season, his fifth here, he developed into one of the NHL’s elite talents, scoring 47 goals and 94 points as the Sabres contended for a playoff spot.
This season, the first of his seven-year, $50 million contract, has often been rough.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – About 14 minutes into Tuesday’s 2-1 loss, Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin grabbed center Casey Mittelstadt’s adroit pass just inside the left circle and quickly unleashed a shot on Dallas Stars goalie Jake Oettinger.
The shaft of Oettinger’s stick nullified a splendid scoring chance, and when the puck fell from the netting above the glass, Dahlin caught it and spiked it in frustration.
“I thought he was like trying to throw it at me ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Zach Benson, the new left winger on the Sabres’ second line alongside center Dylan Cozens and JJ Peterka, hasn’t recorded a point in his last 11 outings. The rookie scored his last goal back on Dec. 15, 18 games ago.
Benson, 18, has compiled four goals in 38 games this season, one less than Jack Quinn, the player he’s replacing, has scored in 17 contests.
Still, after Quinn suffered a lower-body injury Jan. ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres winger Jeff Skinner, out the last five games with an upper-body injury, could return for tonight’s game against the Anaheim Ducks, the start of a three-game road trip.
Skinner, 31, practiced Monday in LECOM Harborcenter in his usual spot at left wing alongside center Tage Thompson and Alex Tuch.
“Skinner went full go in practice, and I’ll find out exactly what that means,” Sabres coach Don Granato said Monday in KeyBank Center. ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – When their six-game home stand began, the Sabres had an opportunity to ignite a run and roar into playoff contention. Instead, they blew perhaps their best chance to make up ground against their Eastern Conference foes.
The Sabres finished their longest stint at KeyBank Center this season 3-3-0. Kind of meh.
Overall, having gone 5-3-0 in their last eight outings, they’ve showcased improvement, most notably defensively. Still, they must make up seven points ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – These days, you rarely hear about that hefty contract Sabres winger Jeff Skinner signed five years ago. The 14-year veteran has not only recaptured his scoring prowess under coach Don Granato, he has evolved into a consistent, multi-faceted threat.
In averaging 34 goals and 73 points over the past two seasons, the struggles Skinner, 31, endured three and four years ago – he mustered six goals and 11 points during a wretched 66-game ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Early in Monday afternoon’s 3-0 win, Sabres coach Don Granato shuffled his lines to give them more directness.
Most notably, he shifted Casey Mittelstadt from left wing on the top line, where he had been subbing for Jeff Skinner, to center, his natural position, between Jordan Greenway and captain Kyle Okposo.
To replace Mittelstadt alongside center Tage Thompson and Alex Tuch, he promoted 18-year-old rookie Zach Benson, who began the game playing with ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – When winger JJ Peterka’s rookie season ended nine months ago, the Sabres challenged the youngster, telling him “you got to be better.”
He contributed 12 goals and 32 points in 2022-23, strong signs he belonged in the NHL. Still, as his minus-15 rating and long offensive droughts illustrated, he was a raw work in progress.
Peterka was pretty good, but hardly good enough.
... Read the full article