Owen Power was injured Feb. 12. ©2024, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Owen Power returns from injury; Jacob Bryson playing regularly

BUFFALO – On Sunday morning, Sabres defenseman Owen Power did not take his usual spot on the second power-play unit, a sign he possibly needed more time to recover from his upper-body injury.

But following the pregame skate, coach Don Granato said the youngster could be ready for the Sabres’ contest against the Carolina Hurricanes at KeyBank Center.

Sure enough, Power, 21, returned their 3-2 shootout win, scoring the late tying goal and skating 23 minutes, 5 seconds.

Power, who missed six games, began skating with his teammates again Wednesday but hadn’t participated in a full-contact practice. He suffered what appeared to be a hand injury during practice Feb. 12.

“The legs were kind of the least of my worry,” Power said of his first game since Feb. 10. “Just kind of thinking the game was more so harder when you come back, especially when you don’t have much practice time to kind of get that feel back.”

Defenseman Erik Johnson also returned Sunday after missing Friday’s 2-1 road win over the Columbus Blue Jackets because he was sick. Power and Johnson skated together.

To make room for them, the Sabres scratched defensemen Kale Clague and Ryan Johnson. They sent Clague back to the Rochester Americans following the game.

Prior to both games during the Sabres’ fathers and mentors trip last week, Connor Clifton’s dad, Tim, addressed the team and colorfully called for some dirty goals.

In defeating the Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens, the Sabres wreaked havoc on goalies, scoring three times with bodies around the net creating traffic.

Fittingly, defenseman Connor Clifton scored Friday’s winner 3:05 into the third period, his first goal in his 55th outing with the Sabres.

“Tim Clifton, Connor’s dad, set the tone the other day,” Granato told reporters in Columbus following Friday’s game. “He followed it up again today wanting Tim Clifton hockey, and you guys saw Tim Clifton hockey, just so you know.”

While Connor Clifton shot the puck from the point, he believes it was the type of goal his father demanded.

“I count it, just because so many bodies were at the net,” Clifton said Friday.

On Sunday, Clifton said his father coached him up until high school and gave some similar pregame talks.

“I think he was a lot more nervous to do it with this group than youth hockey kids,” he said.

Clifton, 28, hadn’t scored in 72 games, since March 2, when he was a member of the Boston Bruins playing the Sabres.

“Just good timing for him,” he said of his father seeing it in person.

Sabres defenseman Jacob Bryson, 26, played his seventh straight game Sunday, his longest stint in the lineup since he played 12 consecutive contests in January and February of 2023.

Granato said Bryson, a regular healthy scratch earlier this season, returned from his 10-game run with the Amerks “a better player.”

“He’s worked hard to become a better player,” he said. “He’s using hindsight from last year, experience from last year, whether that be training different over the summer, preparing different. And then staying very prepared waiting for opportunity, and that’s a skill in itself to be ready when opportunity calls.

“He went and played games in the American League to stay in it, stay in game condition. But it was all in preparation for his next opportunity, which has he has done very, very well when given opportunity.”

Sabres center prospect Matt Savoie had a five-point game Friday – two goals and three assists – in the Moose Jaw Warriors’ 9-4 win over the Tri-City Americans.

Savoie, 20, has scored 10 goals and 24 points in 13 games since joining the Western Hockey League team in January.

The Sabres also scratched winger Victor Olofsson. The Swede and Ryan Johnson skated in the pregame warm-up.

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