Stafford Sharp, Miller Not In Latest Sabres Loss

SabresFollowing tonight the Buffalo Sabres have now scored three goals in each of their last four games.  Unfortunately, at least if you’re a fan of them being on the winning end of the scoreboard their sudden offensive explosion has netted them a grand total of just two points in the standings.

Look on the bright side—at least the tanking is entertaining to watch nowadays.

17,583 packed the First Niagara Center Tuesday night and among them likely a grand total of none expected to see Drew Stafford be the best Sabres on the ice with Ryan Miller simultaneously the worst.

That’s exactly what happened as Stafford scored two goals and added an assist, but it wasn’t enough as the Sabres lost to the Florida Panthers, 4-3. It’s the fourth straight game Buffalo has lost by the same score.

Miller certainly deserves a pass. It was the first time in 18 starts he’s allowed four goals in a game and to be fair, three of the four Florida goals came on some sort of deflection.  But make no mistake about it—the normally reliable Miller was anything but sharp between the pipes tonight.…

Forward Changes For Sabres At Practice

The Buffalo Sabres return to action tomorrow night against the Florida Panthers at the First Niagara Center, and it appears recently acquired forward Zenon Konopka is going to pay the price for costly mistakes.

Konopka skated as an extra on the Sabres forward lines during Monday morning practice, very likely a result of taking three penalties over the past two games that directly led to opposition goals.  Buffalo has lost their past two games in a shootout and to put it mildly, Konopka’s gaffes have hurt his team. Konopka skated with injured forwards Kevin Porter and Cody McCormick at practice.

Linus Omark was a healthy scratch in Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Columbus, but looks to be back and skated on a line at practice with Cody Hodgson and Steve Ott.

Meanwhile Ville Leino continues to plummet down Ted Nolan’s pecking order and is skating on the fourth line with Matt Ellis and John Scott.

Nolan directly criticized Leino following Saturday’s game. When asked why Ellis was getting more playing time than Leino down the stretch, Nolan said of Ellis  ”He may not have as much skill as Leino, but he certainly has a lot more grit”…

Succesful Juniors Season Debut For Grigo

Top Buffalo Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko had a successful season debut for the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL Saturday night, scoring the game-winning goal and adding two assists in a 5-3 victory over Rouyn-Noranda.  Grigorenko also won 26 of his 31 faceoffs.

He was voted the game’s first star.

Tearing up Juniors with Quebec is nothing new for Grigorenko. Starting with the 2011-12 season Grigorenko has racked up 71 goals, 71 assists and 142 points in 93 career games. Simply put, he’s too physically gifted to not dominate this level of hockey.

Of course, based on what Sabres management and fans have seen during Grigorenko’s time in Buffalo, they’re hoping someone can create compete level stats to get a real sense of what progress he’s making in Quebec, since getting his motor to run full speed consistently is what’s preventing him from cracking the Sabres lineup for good.…

Sabres Fall In Another Shootout

Sabres

The bad news is the Buffalo Sabres skated off the First Niagara Center ice Saturday on the losing end of the scoreboard for a third straight game.  The good news is this hockey club is no longer a complete bore to witness the losses pile up.

The Sabres trailed by a goal late before scoring with under a minute in regulation before eventually losing in  shootout to the red-hot Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-3. It’s the third straight time Buffalo has lost by the same score and second consecutive in a shootout.

Buffalo trailed 3-2 before Tyler Myers scored his second goal of the night on a perfect pass from Cody Hodgson with 25 seconds remaining to force overtime.  Drew Stafford scored the Sabres other goal while Tyler Ennis had an excellent night with two assists and several quality scoring chances.

Ryan Miller made 32 saves for Buffalo and allowed only a goal by Ryan Johansen on Columbus’ third attempt of the shootout.  Unfortunately for the Sabres it was all the Jackets would need as Sergei Bobrovsky stymied Matt Moulson, Ennis and Hodgson.  The Sabres are now 0-for-5 in their last two shootouts.

Columbus has won six straight.

Buffalo remains home to face Florida on Tuesday night.

 …

Sabres “UnPucked” Event Set To Debut

SabresThe Buffalo Sabres today announced they will be hosting the inaugural “Sabres UnPucked” event on Saturday, March 1st on the floor of First Niagara Center.  All proceeds from Sabres UnPucked, for which doors open at 6:30 p.m., will benefit the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.

The event will kick-off with a writer’s roundtable led by songwriters David Lee Murphy (singer/songwriter who has written multiple top 40 hits by artists such as Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean and Jake Owen), Doug Johnson (Love Like Crazy – Lee Brice), Tony Arata (The Dance – Garth Brooks) and Jim Peterik (Eye of the Tiger – Survivor).  Current/former Sabres players and coaches will join in the festivities as guest musical performers and celebrity bartenders throughout the evening.  UnPucked will also feature an auction of unique items from a variety of top 40 recording artists as well as the Sabres organization, along with a performance by Black River Entertainment’s The John King Band to close out the night.

General admission tickets will be available at a cost of $35, with VIP tickets on sale for $200.  VIP guests will receive a credential and lanyard, complimentary food and beverages and be granted admittance to an exclusive lounge located next to the stage.

Tickets go on sale Monday, Jan. 20 at 12 p.m., with an exclusive season ticket holder presale commencing at 10 a.m. on that same day.

Tickets can be purchased online at Sabres.com or by calling Lauren Yurko at (716) 855-4468.…

Sabres Lose Thriller In Shootout, 4-3

SabresThe Buffalo Sabres went north of the border tonight and gave their rival Toronto Maple Leafs all they could handle. Their effort, however, didn’t quite result in what they wanted as the Leafs prevailed in a shootout, 4-3.

Ryan Miller was typically solid in net for Buffalo in making 36 saves to keep his team within the game throughout but was uncharacteristically bad in the shootout.  The NHL’s all-time leader in shootout victories came into tonight having stopped 25-of-31 shootout attempts but allowed all three Leafs to score.

Still, the clearly improving Sabres earned at least one point for the 10th time in their last 15 games and perhaps more exciting for fans, offered an action- packed exciting evening of hockey for the second time in 24 hours.

Matt Ellis, Matt Moulson and Cody Hodgson scored goals for Buffalo. Hodgson’s goal tied the game for Buffalo in the opening minute of the third period and eventually forced overtime.  He has two goals and four points in three games since returning from injury and is starting to resemble the star management thought he’d be when signing him to a six-year, $25.5 million deal before the season started.

Defensemen Tyler Myers returned from his three-game suspension and played very well, logging 26:02 of ice time while notching an assist and breaking up several Toronto rushes and skating as fast as we’ve seen in quite some time.…