Next 5 Games:
February 25 vs Carolina Hurricanes 7:00 PM(MSG HD/Bell TV HD/NHLN US HD)
February 26 vs Boston Bruins 7:30 PM(NBCSN HD/TSN 2 HD)
February 28 vs San Jose Sharks 7:00 PM(MSG HD/Bell TV HD/NHLN-CA HD)
March 3 at Dallas Stars 8:00 PM(NBCSN HD/TSN2 HD)
March 6 at Tampa Bay Lightning 7:30 PM(MSG HD/Bell TV HD)
Buffalo: Ryan Miller 14-21-3 2.68 GAA .925 SV% 0 SO
Pittsburgh: Marc-Andre Fleury 30-13-1 2.25 GAA .917 SV% 4 SO
Last Meeting: January 27 Penguins Won 3-0
Season Series: Penguins Lead 2-0-0
All-Time: Penguins Lead 76-62-37
All-Time vs PIT: Sabres Lead 39-29-18
Last Game Recap:
Oilers Shorty Down Sabres 3-2 in Battle of 2 Worst
Drew Stafford made his return to the lineup for the Buffalo Sabres and, in terms of scoring, picked up right where he left off. Unfortunately for the Sabres, his efforts weren’t enough to secure a victory.
Matt Hendricks scored on a shorthanded breakaway 57 seconds into the third period Monday night to lift the Edmonton Oilers over the Sabres 3-2 at First Niagara Center.
The Sabres and Oilers were locked in a 2-2- tie before Hendricks made his way in over the Buffalo line to beat goaltender Jhonas Enroth. Jeff Petry and Justin Schultz also scored for Edmonton.
Sabres captain Steve Ott tallied on the power play in the first period.
Goaltender Jhonas Enroth stopped 25 Edmonton shots while Oilers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov made 42 saves. Buffalo’s 44 shots on goal were a season-high.
“I think we played pretty well today and we created a lot of scoring chances,” Linus Omark, who was acquired by the Sabres from the Oilers in December, said. “We should’ve scored more than two goals. But he was good tonight, Bryzgalov.”
Stafford, who missed four games with an upper-body injury, scored a shorthanded goal with 55.8 seconds to play in the second period to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead. The goal was his second career shorthanded marker and he now has six points (4+2) in his last five games.
He now has eight goals on the season and downplayed the notion that he’s feeling more confident.
“It’s more about just going out and playing free and having a clear head than anything,” he said. “Even when you have confidence, that doesn’t mean you’re going to score every time. There are a lot of times when you might be feeling good, but the puck’s just not going in for you. That’s just the way it works.”
Stafford’s goal came on a 2-on-1 break with Zemgus Girgensons. Skating down the right wing, Stafford held up as he crossed the blue line and then walked in toward the middle of the ice to wrist a shot top shelf over Bryzgalov. It’s the type of shot Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan would like to see more of.
“I thought Drew, the way he shot that puck, that’s what we want to see,” Nolan said. “He’s a big power forward and he’s starting to get his confidence back. In the first game back after a [four-game] break, it’s tough sometimes, but I thought he played well.”
Big story: Sabres goalie Ryan Miller will once again represent the United States when the Sochi Olympics begin in a matter of days. Fleury couldn’t crack the Canadian roster, but he leads the NHL with 30 wins and has the Penguins positioned as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Penguins: With Taylor Pyatt injured on his opening shift in a 2-1 overtime win against the Ottawa Senators on Monday and Andrew Ebbett reassigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, assistant coach Tony Granato supplemented Pittsburgh’s forward depth by skating on the fourth line at practice Tuesday.
Fleury became the fastest Penguins goalie ever to 30 wins in a season and had his teammates raving about a save he made in the third period on Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson. The Penguins went on to win when James Neal scored 1:55 into the extra period.
“That’s the best one I’ve ever seen him make,” Neal said of Fleury’s glove stop on a blistering one-timer by Karlsson. “He’s been doing that all year. He’s an unbelievable goalie. He showed that. His consistency has been great all year. He just keeps getting better.”
Sabres: Since a run of four wins in six games from Dec. 17-29, Buffalo has won just four of its past 16 games. Interim coach Ted Nolan has shuffled players in and out of the lineup; forward Ville Leino, a healthy scratch for the 3-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Monday, saw some time on the second line at practice Tuesday.
With only six games remaining prior to the NHL Trade Deadline on March 5 — two before the Olympic break, four after — the scuttlebutt surrounding Miller’s future continues. The 33-year-old pending unrestricted free agent has the sixth-best save percentage (.925) despite facing the fourth-highest volume of shots (1,339).
“We haven’t talked about anything with regard to contracts,” Miller said Tuesday of his dealings with Sabres management. “We haven’t talked about anything with regard to trades.”
Who’s hot: Penguins forwards Jussi Jokinen (one goal, four assists) Evgeni Malkin (two goals, two assists) and Neal (one goal, two assists) all have three-game point streaks. … Sabres forward Steve Ott has two goals in the past three games.
Alexander Semin tallied twice for the Hurricanes. Jeff Skinner also scored and Jiri Tlusty added an empty net goal with 0.8 seconds remaining in regulation. Anton Khudobin turned aside 26 shots.
Phil Varone, making his NHL debut, assisted on Flynn’s second-period goal for his first career point.
“It was a good feeling. It would’ve been a lot better in a win. It was fun, it was exciting,” Varone said. “I was glad to have my family here, but like I said, I wish it would’ve been in a winning cause.”
The Sabres are 0-3-2 in their past five games and have given up four our more goals in each of them.
“We’re finding ways to lose hockey games versus playing ways to win hockey games,” Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said.
Ennis put the Sabres ahead 3-2 just 49 seconds into the third period. After Drew Stafford rang a shot off the crossbar, Ennis, slapped a bouncing puck in from the left wing.
Ennis is now on a career-best six-game point streak with three goals and four assists in those games.
Carolina came back to score the final two goals 2:25 apart in the third period. Semin’s second goal of the game tied the affair and Sekera’s low slap shot from the point through traffic with 10:10 remaining put the Hurricanes ahead for the first time all game.
“It was nice to get the lead. Then as soon as we got the lead, we kind of sat back,” Ennis said. “They took it to us and that’s a tough loss.”
Blue Jackets welcome Sabres seeking 9th straight win
Last 10: Buffalo 2-5-3; Columbus 9-1-0
Big story: The Blue Jackets and Sabres are streaking, but in opposite directions. Columbus comes to First Niagara Center hoping to extend its franchise-record eight-game winning streak. Buffalo, last in the overall standings, hasn’t won in its past five games despite scoring three goals in each.
Sabres: After losing three in a row at home, the Sabres are looking forward to a stretch when they play four of their next five games away from Buffalo.
“Sometimes, you go on the road and it’s good for you when you’re in a little bit of a funk,” forward Matt Moulson told the team website after practice Friday at First Niagara Center. “You can play a lot simpler. There’s no one to impress on the road and you can concentrate on just grinding out wins. We’ll approach it like that, play a simple game and get wins.”
The Sabres are aware they’ll be trying to cool off the NHL’s hottest team.
“They’ve been great of late,” center Cody Hodgson said. “They’ve got a lot of firepower, and just the way they play the game is fast. We have to eliminate that.”
Blue Jackets: Columbus is in a stretch when it will play nine of 12 games at Nationwide Arena before a three-game California trip wraps up the pre-Olympic portion of the schedule, and the Blue Jackets are taking full advantage. Five of the eight victories during the winning streak have come at home, including 5-2 against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.
“We’re feeding off the crowd and the energy,” coach Todd Richards told the team website. “That’s probably been the biggest factor: our comfort level, our confidence level, and the energy of the crowd at Nationwide Arena.”
One tactical advantage home teams enjoy is getting the last line change. Richards said he feels all of his forwards are playing so well he doesn’t need to do a lot of matching.
“I’m not worrying as much about that because of how our lines are going,” Richards said. “We’re rolling four lines and giving guys ice time and are able to spread it around. We’re getting all four lines going, all six defensemen going. We have that depth going, and that’s big for us.”
Who’s hot: Sabres forward Tyler Ennis has a point in six straight games, including a goal Thursday in a 5-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. … Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky had a goal and an assist against the Flyers, giving him six points in his past four games. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is 6-0-0 and has allowed 11 goals since returning from a groin injury.
Phil Kessel, Nikolai Kulemin and Morgan Rielly scored for the Maple Leafs. James Reimer made 27 saves. In the shootout, Toronto scored on all three of their attempts to claim the extra point.
Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan couldn’t put his finger on what was different in the third period Wednesday as opposed to Tuesday, but credited the efforts of some of the leaders on the team.
“I think the guys just bared down a little bit,” he said. “We had some great leadership tonight again from Steve Ott and he really willed this game back. I thought [Zemgus] Girgensons was outstanding here tonight. Overall, the guys worked hard.”
The game marked the fifth and final meeting between the two Atlantic Division rivals. Toronto ended up going 3-1-1 to win the season series.
Buffalo has collected six points in their past five games and the players are starting to see the work they’re putting in produce more of the results they’re looking for.
“We’re definitely playing a simpler game. It keeps us in more hockey games,” Miller said. “You’re going to pick up points that way. That’s the secret to the NHL now is just hang around and be in the games and then separate yourself. If you can get good chemistry and if you get lucky, you’re not going to get hurt too often with your forward group or your D group.”
Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers returned to the lineup after serving a three-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Dainius Zubrus on Jan 4. He played 26:02 against Toronto and recorded the primary assist on Ellis’ goal.
He also played a big part in a successful penalty kill in overtime.
“I thought we did a really good job. I thought we were pretty aggressive and I thought that’s what we needed to try to do to try and limit their chances,” he said. “It’s never easy 4-on-3, 5-on-3 but the way we pressure them, that’s what we needed to do and it resulted in a pretty good kill.”
Nolan was impressed with the 6-foot-8 defenseman’s game.
“You can tell how much you missed a player tonight and how significant he was tonight. I thought Tyler Myers, his first game back, it was probably one of his better games he’s played all season long,” Nolan said. “He played with a little pizzazz, he played with some energy and he was very aggressive. He had a great game.”
The Sabres have announced that Tim Murray will be the new Sabres GM. Murray was assistant general manager with the Ottawa Senators under his uncle Brian Murray. Murray also has been with the Red Wings, Panthers, Ducks, and Rangers in Scouting Roles.
In the most shocking news of the day the Sabres have also brought in Craig Patrick to be a special assistant and advisor. Patrick was an assistant coach and general manager of the 1980 USA gold medal winning olympic hockey team. In 1981 Patrick became General manager of the New York Rangers. He was also head coach of the Rangers for the 80-81 season and 84-85 season. After leaving the Rangers Patrick was hired by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1989. Murray would be the GM of the Penguins from 1989-2006 in that time would build 2 stanley cup winners. Patrick was also vital in the Penguins rebuild that would lead to the Penguins winning the stanley cup in 2009. He was also coach of the penguins for the 89-90 and 96-97 seasons.
All-Time vs CAR: Sabres Lead 54-30-8 Upcoming Matchups:
January 23 vs Hurricanes 7:00 PM(MSG HD/Bell TV HD)
March 13 at Hurricanes 7:00 PM(MSG HD/Bell TV HD) Last Game Recap: 2 Power Play Goals Lead To Sabres 2-1 Victory Over Devils The Buffalo Sabres finally got their power play working Saturday night and it helped them earn two points in the standings. Matt Moulson and Matt D’Agostini each tallied with the man advantage in Buffalo’s 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils at a sold-out First Niagara Center. Ryan Miller stopped 20 shots in goal.
The Sabres hadn’t scored two power-play goals in the same game since Oct. 8 against Tampa Bay.
D’Agostini, who netted the game-winner with 8:11 remaining in the third period, scored his first of the season and his first since April 18 when he was with the Devils.
“It was good. I’ve been getting the chances, just not capitalizing on them,” D’Agostini said. “I was trying not to let that wear on me too much and just keep playing my game, but it was good to get one to fall tonight.”
The Sabres are 6-0-1 in their last seven home games and have points in seven straight at home for the first time since a run from February 19 to March 7, 2012. Coming off two losses on the road, the Sabres felt like it was important to come back and earn two points.
“We definitely need that and we’ve got to start translating it into road games obviously, but at least we can come home and have a good effort and keep building,” Miller said.
The last time the two teams played, the Devils scored the game’s only goal with 40.2 seconds in overtime. For almost two full periods, it looked like the two clubs could be battling in yet another extended goalless affair.
That is until Moulson put in his 14th goal of the season.
Moulson opened the scoring with 30.4 seconds remaining in the second period on the power play. Tyler Ennis skated around the Devils net and put a puck on goal, only to have the rebound deflect to Moulson, who lifted it into the net over Cory Schneider’s blocker.
“It was a great play by [Ennis] circling around there and throwing it in front. I was lucky enough to kind of find it and put it in the net,” Moulson said. “Marcus did a great job in front of the net and kind of took that defender with him, kind of left me open there so it was a good play and we were generating some good chances on that little segment there.”
He’s scored seven of his eight goals since joining the Sabres on home ice. http://sabres.nhl.com/gamecenter/en/recap?id=2013020628 Tonight’s Preview:
Sabres put home streak on line vs. surging Hurricanes
Last 10: Carolina 5-3-2; Buffalo 5-3-2 Big story: The Hurricanes hope to win their fifth game in a row. The Sabres, who started the season 0-8-1 on home ice, look for their sixth consecutive win at First Niagara Center.
“Getting back to simple hockey,” Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers said when asked about the recent success at home after a 2-1 win Saturday against the New Jersey Devils. “Tonight I thought we got back to playing the game we need to if we want to have success.” Team scope: Hurricanes: Carolina has won a season-high four games in a row, all by one goal, despite getting outshot in each of their past three. They defeated the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Sunday with Jeff Skinner picking up a goal and an assist. He was named the NHL’s first star of the week Monday with six goals and nine points in four games.
“I just keep trying to hit the net. (Tuomo) Ruutu made a great pass to me and I just tried to get it through to the net. I think it went through their defenseman’s legs. Sometimes that’s just the way it goes,” Skinner said Sunday.
His third-period goal was the game-winner. Skinner now has four game-winning goals this season.
“He’s scoring, but he is scoring clutch goals. That’s a difference as well. The guys that we needed to score tonight in a grinding-type game — three games in four nights — came through for us,” coach Kirk Muller said. Sabres: Matt D’Agostini scored his first goal of the season midway through the third period Saturday night, and it turned out to be the game-winner against New Jersey.
“We knew it was going to be hard to come by but we stuck with our game plan and got the goals that we needed,” D’Agostini told Sabres TV after the game.
Buffalo has had trouble scoring goals all season but has now won three of its past four one-goal games. Who’s hot: Skinner has a five-game scoring streak (six goals, four assists) for the Hurricanes. Alexander Semin has eight points in seven games. … Recently named to the U.S. Olympic team, Sabres goalie Ryan Miller is 3-1-1 in his past five starts with a .951 save percentage. http://www.nhl.com/gamecenter/en/preview?id=2013020647&navid=sb:preview Injury Report:
Next 5 Games:
January 7 vs Carolina Hurricanes 7:00 PM(MSG HD)
January 9 vs Florida Panthers 7:00 PM(MSG HD)
January 12 at Washington Capitals 3:00 PM(MSG HD)
January 14 vs Philadelphia Flyers 7:30 PM(NBCSN HD)
January 15 at Toronto Maple Leafs 7:30 PM(MSG HD)
In the 12 games the Buffalo Sabres netminder has earned decisions in this season, he’s allowed 32 goals but has gotten only 16 from his team in support.
The trend of little help from the offense continued as the Buffalo Sabres fell to the Winnipeg Jets 3-0 at MTS Centre on Tuesday. The Sabres have not won in Winnipeg since Feb. 10, 1993.
Keaton Ellerby, Jacob Trouba and Anthony Peluso tallied for the Jets in this New Year’s Eve match.
Enroth finished the game with 23 saves and he remains stuck on one win this year.
“It’s tough. He had three breakaways tonight and he stopped all of them,” Sabres forward Marcus Foligno said. “He’s played amazing. I don’t know if he’s snake-bitten with wins or we’re just not getting the job done. In front of Ryan Miller we are sometimes. But we definitely have to win for him. He’s a huge piece of our team and he battles every night.”
The Jets took a 1-0 lead with 9:18 remaining in the first period when Ellerby’s shot from the point made its way past Enroth.
It’s a goal Enroth said he’d like to have back.
“I saw it all the way. He literally threw a curve ball at me. It’s pretty tough,” he said. “It was a knucklepuck that pretty much dipped right in front of me. I just got a piece of it, but to me, it’s just bad luck, a bad bounce. Just a half-inch closer to me and it’s a save and we don’t talk about that anymore. But obviously that’s a goal, that’s a puck I should save.”
Big story: The Wild have lost a franchise-record six consecutive games in regulation and the Sabres haven’t won on the road since a 5-4 shootout win against the San Jose Sharks Nov. 5, so something has to give. Buffalo has won once on the road in regulation and their 3-13-2 record away from home is last in the NHL.
Sabres: A big part of Buffalo’s struggles has been their inability to score goals. The Sabres’ 113 goals against is middle of the pack, but their League-low 71 goals scored is 24 behind the Nashville Predators. Their minus-42 goal differential is also last in the League.
“We’re the type of team that can’t have any kind of turnover or mistake and get caught trying to fight back,” Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said. “Our offense, it’s tough to score goals. It’s just one of those things.”
Wild: Minnesota called up forward Jason Zucker on Wednesday to try and inject some offense into a lineup that has scored 97 goals, third-worst in the Western Conference. The two teams behind the Wild, the Predators (95) and Calgary Flames (96), have each played two fewer games.
“It feels a little bit like Groundhog Day right now, the difference is that every game has been a different story,” coach Mike Yeo said. “Every game is different and you got to find a way to win. It’s making a play here or there, it’s whatever it takes. We’ve got to find a way.”
Who’s hot: Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller has won four of his past five starts, including a 49-save performance in a 2-1 shootout win against the Washington Capitals on Sunday. Miller hasn’t allowed more than three goals in a game since Nov. 19 … Mikko Koivu has scored at least one point in three straight games and leads the Wild with 31 points in 42 games.
Next 5 Games:
January 2 at Minnesota Wild 8:00 PM(MSG HD)
January 4 vs New Jersey Devils 7:00 PM(MSG HD)
January 7 vs Carolina Hurricanes 7:00 PM(MSG HD)
January 9 vs Florida Panthers 7:00 PM(MSG HD)
January 12 at Washington Capitals 3:00 PM(MSG HD)
Buffalo: Ryan Miller 9-17-1 2.76 GAA .924 SV% 0 SO
Washington: Philipp Grubauer 5-1-1 2.18 GAA .937 SV% 0 SO
Last Meeting: March 30 Capitals Won(SO) 4-3
Season Series: Capitals Won 3-0-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 83-43-17
All-Time vs WSH: Sabres Lead 44-20-7
January 12th at Capitals 3:00 PM(MSG HD/Bell TV HD/ NHLN-CA HD)
January 28th vs Capitals 7:30 PM(NBCSN HD/TSN2 HD)
Last Game Recap:
Maple Leafs Beat Sabres In Shootout
Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist in regulation and Joffrey Lupul scored the only goal in the shootout to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres at Air Canada Centre on Friday night.
Lupul beat Ryan Miller with a backhander inside the left post in the second round. Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis hit the post in the second round and Zemgus Girgensons side a backhander wide of the net in the third round to give the Maple Leafs the win. It was Toronto’s fourth consecutive shootout game.
The Sabres blew an early 2-0 lead but forced overtime when Steve Ott scored off a power-play scramble with 24 seconds left in regulation.
Matt Moulson gave the Sabres 1-0 lead 7:01 into the first period. Moulson scored on a rebound after Girgensons drove to the net; his shot bounced off goaltender Jonathan Bernier to Moulson, who put the puck between his pads.
John Scott made it 2-0 by scoring his first goal in more than four years 52 seconds after Moulson’s goal. Scott, playing in his 200th career game, picked up the rebound of Matt Ellis‘ shot and beat Bernier with a snap shot for his second career goal and first since Nov. 15, 2009.
Big story: The Sabres, who started the season winless in nine home games, are 7-4-1 in their past 12 games at First Niagara Center, including three straight wins.
Capitals: Washington salvaged the final game of a three-game homestand by beating the New York Rangers 3-2 on Friday. Eric Fehr scored the the game-winning goal with 5:09 left in the third period, breaking a 2-2 tie.
“It’s always important for us to try and win in regulation. I think too often, we rely on overtime and the shootout and come playoff time, that’s not going to be there for us,” he said after the win. “We have to find ways to be a better team in the third period and close out games and win it 5-on-5.”
The Capitals have been in 14 overtime games this season with a 2-1 overtime record and an 8-3 mark in shootouts.
“It felt great. We’ve kind of toyed with between winning games in regular time or else we’ve gone to a lot of overtime and a lot of shootouts, which, we are getting our points but it’s a lot better when we finish off in regulation,” defenseman Mike Green said.
Sabres: The Sabres’ offense has improved with three or more goals in three of their past five games, and the team is 3-1-1 over that stretch. Buffalo lost 4-3 in a shootout to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night after holding a 2-0 first period lead — their first 2-0 lead of the season. Steve Ott scored with 25 seconds remaining to force overtime; Ryan Miller had 42 saves through 65 minutes.
“When you have a 2-0 lead in this League, you can’t expect to win. It’s hard work for 60 minutes no matter how much you are up,” Moulson said.
The Sabres allowed 17 shots and three second-period goals to the Maple Leafs.
“I thought we started off real well, but then the second period shows you how you get yourself into trouble if you keep turning the puck over. Close to 19 turnovers in that second period,” interim coach Ted Nolan said
Who’s hot:Nicklas Backstrom has a goal in each of his past two games for the Capitals. Troy Brouwer has registered a point in four of five games (one goal, five assists). … Moulson has three goals and three assists in six games for the Sabres. Miller has stopped 227 of 241 shots in December, good for a .942 save percentage.