Ryan Miller made 38 saves Saturday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Tight win over Canadiens has Sabres back in playoff chase

MONTREAL – This one could’ve gotten ugly early as the Buffalo Sabres bumbled around their own zone and the Canadiens kept relentlessly applying pressure.

Somehow, though, the Habs missed a slew of prime chances during the first period Saturday.

If they didn’t misfire in front of Ryan Miller, the franchise goalie gobbled it up. His play and a little luck kept the Sabres in the game.

Just a few weeks ago, the struggling team might’ve ... Read the full article

Drew Stafford battled Clarke MacArthur (16) in his last appearance Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Slumping Stafford benched as Gerbe returns for Sabres

MONTREAL – In just 32 days on the job, interim coach Ron Rolston has quickly put his mark on the Buffalo Sabres, scratching five regular forwards.

Prior to Saturday, struggling winger Drew Stafford had escaped a benching, only receiving some fourth-line duty for his poor play. With a two-goal effort last Saturday and the shootout-tying score Thursday, it appeared the assistant captain would keep dressing.

But Stafford, who has only four goals and a ... Read the full article

Drew Stafford has struggled all season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Struggling Stafford to sit tonight as Gerbe returns for Sabres

MONTREAL – Naturally, getting benched for tonight’s game against the Canadiens is disappointing, Drew Stafford said. The struggling Buffalo Sabres winger, who has only four goals in 31 games this season, hasn’t been a healthy scratch in years.

But the 27-year-old veteran, an assistant captain, understands why interim coach Ron Rolston will sit him.

“I mean, it’s no secret I haven’t been getting on the score sheet,” Stafford said this afternoon following Buffalo’s skate ... Read the full article

Drew Stafford has only four goals this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Struggling Stafford wants to remain with Sabres

MONTREAL – The rumors, Drew Stafford said, are simply not true. The struggling Sabres winger doesn’t want to be traded. The 27-year-old would like to stay in Buffalo, his only NHL home.

Right now, Stafford’s focusing on busting out of his long offensive slump. Asking to be dealt with two years and more than $8 million left on his contract, well, that would be the easy way out.

“No matter how bad it gets, ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek has battled injuries all season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Thomas Vanek should return against Canadiens

MONTREAL – When Christian Ehrhoff’s point blast hit Thomas Vanek squarely in the hip early in the Sabres’ 3-2 overtime win here on Tuesday, the slick winger thought the worst.

“I thought he broke my hip because it was puck on bone,” Vanek said Friday after practicing inside the First Niagara Center, his first session back on the ice.

But the Sabres’ leading scorer has healed quickly. He felt good during the short skate and ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek has missed one game. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Vanek plans to play against Canadiens

BUFFALO – When Christian Ehrhoff’s point blast hit Thomas Vanek squarely in the hip early in the Sabres’ 3-2 overtime win Tuesday in Montreal, the slick winger thought the worst.

“I thought he broke my hip because it was puck on bone,” Vanek said this afternoon after practicing inside the First Niagara Center, his first session back on the ice.

But the Sabres’ leading scorer has healed quickly. He felt good during the short skate ... Read the full article

John Scott (32) declares victory after bloodying Toronto’s Frazer McLaren during the first period Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Relentless Sabres roar back to down Leafs in ultra-intense tilt

BUFFALO –For 65 wildly entertaining minutes Thursday, the Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs fought, traded goals and battled for every inch as they zoomed up and down the ice before a noisy bipartisan crowd of 19,070 fans inside the First Niagara Center.

The Sabres’ 5-4 shootout victory was NHL hockey at its fiercest and most exciting.

“They got their money’s worth tonight,” interim Sabres coach Ron Rolston said about the capacity crowd.

Fittingly, Sabres agitator ... Read the full article

Alexander Sulzer played 17 games this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sulzer disappointed season over, hoping to re-sign with Sabres

BUFFALO – When defenseman Alexander Sulzer caught his skate in a rut and twisted his knee early in the Sabres’ 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders on Feb. 23, the defenseman immediately knew something wasn’t right.

“I felt that something happened,” Sulzer said prior to the Sabres’ 5-4 shootout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday inside the First Niagara Center. “It was really painful. I didn’t know how bad it was. But ... Read the full article

Nathan Gerbe skates this morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Gerbe not giving Sabres a reason to play him

BUFFALO – With slick Sabres winger Thomas Vanek too sore to play tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs, either Nathan Gerbe or John Scott will return after being healthy scratches.

The two have three goals and six points combined, all from Gerbe. Vanek, of course, is the Sabres’ leading scorer with 14 goals and 31 points.

Scott, a hulking tough guy, will likely play after three straight scratches. The Leafs sport a lot ... Read the full article

Ryan Miller was prepping for his 27th appearance this morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Miller to start for Sabres tonight

BUFFALO – Following goalie Jhonas Enroth’s strong 34-save performance in the Sabres’ 3-2 overtime triumph Tuesday in Montreal, interim coach Ron Rolston and his staff considered giving the backup another start.

Ultimately, though, Rolston awarded tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs to Ryan Miller.

“We like what Jhonas is doing and how he’s building his game and building confidence, and certainly he’s given us two big wins here recently,” Rolston said this morning inside ... Read the full article