Rasmus Ristolainen (right) celebrates his goal Sunday afternoon with Jack Eichel. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Rasmus Ristolainen wreaking havoc on power play

BUFFALO – As a defenseman, Rasmus Ristolainen understands how a big body in front of the net can be a weapon during a power play.

“If some other teams, they have some good net-front presence, I know how hard it is to play when there’s guys standing in front of the net screening (the) goalie all the time,” the Sabres veteran said after scoring a power-play goal in Sunday afternoon’s 5-3 loss to the New ... Read the full article

Victor Oloffson scored a power-play goal Saturday afternoon. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres win another tight game, keep moving up standings

BUFFALO – In the not-so-distant past, the Sabres might’ve lost a game like Saturday afternoon’s 4-3 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils.

The Sabres looked disjointed much of the day, uncharacteristically taking a string of penalties and blowing two leads, including one in the waning minutes.

Still, they prevailed again, earning their third one-goal victory this season.

“That’s a sign of good teams,” Sabres center Eric Staal said of finding a way to win. ... Read the full article

Scott Wedgewood quietly enjoyed a terrific season in Rochester. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Former Sabres, Amerks have landed new contracts all over

On a Rochester Americans team loaded with scorers and high-end AHL talent, goalie Scott Wedgewood’s exploits often got overshadowed.

But for much of the 2018-19 campaign, Wedgewood was the Amerks’ backbone, tending some of the league’s best goal.

After Christmas, Wedgewood won 16 of his first 21 appearances. Overall, he enjoyed a career season, compiling 28 victories and five shutouts in 48 games.

Still, it was evident Wedgewood, 26, would be moving on. The seven-year ... Read the full article

Matt Duchene will land a huge contract in free agency. ©2019, Hickling Images

Trades, not free agents, likely Sabres’ best option for improving roster

BUFFALO – The Sabres must examine every option to improve their weak roster, so, yes, general manager Jason Botterill acknowledged, they’ve discussed some of the top free agents on the market.

It’s no secret center Matt Duchene would fill a glaring need as the No. 2 pivot behind Jack Eichel.

For a few years, even as the Sabres kept struggling, their greatest strength was up the middle.

Most teams are lucky to have one top ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen joined Rochester earlier this month. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen learning pro game

TORONTO – On April 14 in Belleville, goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen played his 68th and likely final game this season, stopping 32 shots in the Rochester Americans’ 4-2 win over the Senators.

“It was a big thing for me, builds your confidence up a lot, especially looking to next season when you want to play in the pros,” the Buffalo Sabres’ top goalie prospect said of his pro debut.

Luukkonen, 20, has taken a backseat to ... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson (12) stands between Toronto’s Kasimir Kaskisuo (30) and Joseph Duszak (21) on Sunday afternoon. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Amerks lose in overtime, fall behind 2-0 to Marlies

ROCHESTER – Chris Taylor was seething following Sunday afternoon’s 3-2 overtime loss. Can you blame the Americans coach? Through 122 minutes of hockey, his team has thoroughly outplayed the Toronto Marlies.

But the Amerks have nothing to show for it. Just like that, they’re on the brink, down 2-0 in the best-of-five series AHL North Division semifinal playoff series.

The Marlies can eliminate them Wednesday in Toronto.

“I’m upset, I’m mad,” Taylor said after the ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo hasn’t scored a goal since Nov. 13. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo enduring career-worst slump

BUFFALO – Kyle Okposo’s offensive slump has become startling.

The Sabres winger has a career-long 21-game goal drought entering tonight’s home tilt against the New York Islanders, his old team. The former NHL All-Star hasn’t even mustered an assist in the last 14 contests, the longest pointless stretch of his 12-year career.

Following a strong start, Okposo stopped producing around mid-November.

Incredibly, Okposo, who usually skates on the second line and power-play unit, is ... Read the full article

Scott Wilson broke his ankle late in training camp. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Scott Wilson nearing return from broken ankle

BUFFALO – Scott Wilson couldn’t even walk yet. Still, after breaking his right ankle, the Sabres winger wanted to enjoy some hockey-related activities.

So instead of staying idle, at about the four-week mark of his recovery, Wilson, 26, started going on the ice and shooting pucks … from a chair.

“As basic as you could think of it, that’s pretty much what it was,” Wilson said prior to Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Boston ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons (28) battles Calgary’s Mark Giordano last season. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Zemgus Girgensons week-to-week; Lawrence Pilut to be scratched

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Zemgus Girgensons, a steady presence on the fourth line this season, is sidelined week-to-week with an upper-body injury, coach Phil Housley said.

Girgensons, 24, has formed a strong duo beside center Johan Larsson, giving the Sabres some valuable minutes.

“Zemgus has done a terrific job,” Housley said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “I think with Larsson and him together, they have a unique chemistry, and whoever we put down there ... Read the full article

Matt Hunwick has missed 31 games this season. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Matt Hunwick to begin injury rehab assignment with Amerks

BUFFALO – On April 1, defenseman Matt Hunwick made his 521st NHL appearance, skating just over 12 minutes in Pittsburgh’s 3-1 loss in Washington.

More than eight months later, Hunwick, 33, hasn’t played another game. That should, however, change tonight for the Sabres newcomer, who has missed the first 31 contests this season recovering from a neck injury.

The Sabres plan to have Hunwick start an AHL rehab assignment with the Rochester Americans, Sabres coach ... Read the full article