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Posted On Saturday, 11.08.2014 / 1:46 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Penguins at Sabres

BUFFALO -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will look to extend their season-high six-game winning streak when they face the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on Saturday.

The Penguins are coming off a 4-3 shootout win against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, their closest game of the streak. The Penguins have won four consecutive games against the Sabres, outscoring them 17-2 in that stretch. That includes a 5-0 win Nov. 1 in Pittsburgh.

"Our special teams have been very good," Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. "If you look at the last six or seven games our special teams have been good. We got out of the gate, got some confidence early, which is very important as you know. If you look around the League, if you come out of the gate well you tend to get that confidence that you need. Those are a couple of the factors. And then now we're getting secondary scoring. We were searching for that early and we've started to get secondary scoring."

Posted On Friday, 11.07.2014 / 12:43 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Oilers at Sabres

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres have found their hot hand in goal with Michal Neuvirth.

Sabres coach Ted Nolan said Neuvirth will start against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday at First Niagara Center. This will be Neuvirth's third consecutive start and sixth in the past nine games.

"He's been real good for us," Nolan said. "Jhonas [Enroth] has been good too. Right now with the time and between games, Neuvirth had two days off between the games. Last time Jhonas played well was back-to-back. Those back-to-backers are tough and we'll see how [Friday] goes and see how he feels after the game. Neuvirth's been playing very well for us. He's almost like a sponge with those rebounds; there's no rebounds hardly at all. He's played very well for us."

In six starts Neuvirth is 2-3-1 with a .925 save percentage and a 2.60 goals-against average.

Posted On Wednesday, 11.05.2014 / 12:45 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Canadiens at Sabres

BUFFALO -- The Montreal Canadiens will be facing a pair of familiar faces when they play the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, SN).

Former Canadiens captain Brian Gionta and former alternate captain Josh Gorges will be playing against their former team for the first time since joining the Sabres in the offseason.

"It's always different the first time you play against your former team," Gorges said. "There are a lot of different emotions that get thrown into it. I talked about this [Tuesday], making sure I focus on doing what we need to do to win. That's the most important thing. You try not to think about it too much during the day [Wednesday]. You're going through your regular routine and wait for that puck to drop, because once that puck drops it's business as usual."

Gorges was traded to the Sabres by the Canadiens on July 1. Gionta signed with the Sabres as a free agent the same day.

Posted On Sunday, 11.02.2014 / 12:37 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Red Wings at Sabres

BUFFALO – The Detroit Red Wings will look a bit more familiar when they face the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday at First Niagara Center.

Red Wings forward Johan Franzen will return to the lineup after missing the past six games with a groin injury. In four games, Franzen has two goals and three assists. He skated on a line with Gustav Nyquist and Darren Helm at practice on Saturday.

The Red Wings made room for Franzen by putting forward Stephen Weiss on injured reserve with a groin injury Friday. Weiss was injured while on a conditioning assignment playing for Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League on Tuesday.

Posted On Thursday, 10.30.2014 / 12:54 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Bruins at Sabres

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres are looking to rebound from a historically poor performance Tuesday when they host the Boston Bruins on Thursday.

The Sabres had a franchise-worst 10 shots on goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 4-0 loss Tuesday. Coach Ted Nolan put the players through a long, tough practice Wednesday and the team had an optional skate Thursday morning. Forward Cody Hodgson was demoted to the fourth line, and alongside rookie Sam Reinhart and Nicolas Deslauriers.

"We had a good meeting with him," Nolan said. "We showed some video. We ran through some things to try to get Cody to being better -- as all our players. We had 1-on-1 chats with a lot of guys and he was one of them."

Posted On Saturday, 10.18.2014 / 1:35 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Bruins at Sabres

BUFFALO – The Buffalo Sabres will scratch Sam Reinhart, the second pick of the 2014 NHL Draft, on Saturday against the Boston Bruins.

Reinhart has played in the Sabres first five games and has no points. He’s played the past two games on the fourth line after he played on the third line in the first three.

“It’s one of those things. He’s a young player that’s still learning,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. “So we’ll let him watch a game and let’s see how he comes from that.”

Reinhart has averaged 10:26 of ice time in five games and has two shots on goal. Brian Flynn will take his place in the lineup.

“You ask any first year player, a first couple [years] player, they all go through it,” Nolan said. “They’ve got to watch. Sometimes you learn a lot more by watching than playing sometimes. It’s still early in his development. We tried to force-feed it right at the beginning. We tried putting him with a lot of minutes on the top lines, then we backed off a little bit. Now this is another way to try and get his game going.”

Posted On Friday, 10.17.2014 / 1:26 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Panthers at Sabres

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres are going back to their opening-night lineup when they host the Florida Panthers on Friday.

Defenseman Andrej Meszaros will be back in the lineup after he was a healthy scratch for the Sabres' 4-3 shootout win Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

"He's got to be one of our top-four defensemen," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "You don't judge the whole season on one game so we want to see him playing the way he's capable of playing. So that was the choice. A lot of coaches believe in doing the same thing and getting the same result, but he can play a lot better for us and we're looking forward to that [Friday]."

Meszaros will be paired with Andre Benoit. In his previous three games, Meszaros had one assist and averaged 19:38 of ice time.

Posted On Thursday, 10.09.2014 / 1:40 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blue Jackets at Sabres

BUFFALO -- The Columbus Blue Jackets will have their leading scorer from last season in the lineup against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

Center Ryan Johansen, who agreed to terms on a three-year contract Monday, skated between Nick Foligno and Cam Atkinson during the morning skate at First Niagara Center in Buffalo and will be in the lineup after missing all of training camp.

"I've never been in a situation like that before," Johansen said. "Hopefully I won't have to do it again. I'm just thankful it took care of itself and I'm here with the guys."

Johansen led the Blue Jackets with 33 goals and 63 points last season.

"He's such a big part of the offense and big part of this team that there was definitely a void when he wasn't around," Foligno said. "He's come in and really just wanted to work and be with us. We couldn't be more excited to have him around."

Posted On Thursday, 09.25.2014 / 2:48 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Olczyk awed by All-American Prospects Game talent

BUFFALO -- If there's one person involved in the CCM/USA All-American Prospects Game who gets what it's like to be an American player, it's Ed Olczyk.

Olczyk will be behind the bench at First Niagara Center in Buffalo on Thursday night (7 p.m. ET, NHL Network) for the annual showdown between two sides of the best prospects in the United States, and as a former member of the United States Olympic team, seeing the number of top young stars is encouraging.

"It speaks to where USA Hockey has come, really in a short period of time when you look at the big picture. The size aspect of it is amazing," Olczyk said. "Just being out on the ice with them for 30 minutes kind of puts it all in perspective, because when you watch them through the glass or watch them from the press box or in the stands as a hockey parent -- you understand, because, I mean, I lived it -- but once you're out there with them up close in a practice or like looking forward to tonight, you get a true appreciation for the talent level and the want to, and that's something that really separates a lot of these kids."

Posted On Tuesday, 04.08.2014 / 1:16 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sabres get Stewart, Foligno back vs. Red Wings

BUFFALO -- The Detroit Red Wings won't make any lineup changes when they face the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, but the same can't be said of the Sabres.

Buffalo will have forwards Chris Stewart, Marcus Foligno and Torrey Mitchell back after each missed time with injury.

Stewart has been out since March 6, his second game with the Sabres, when he sustained an ankle injury in a collision with Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Anders Lindback and was believed to be out for the season.

"A couple weeks ago I really turned the corner," Stewart said. "I made up my mind I was going to try and push it here and get back for a couple games."

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