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McCabe, Montour formed steady pair against Nashville's top trio

Defensive duo has formed quick chemistry through two games

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Jake McCabe protected the puck from Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson along the end boards in his own zone, biding time until his defense partner arrived for support. He passed it to Brandon Montour, who drew the forecheck in the opposite direction before reversing the puck back to McCabe. 

By the time McCabe delivered his breakout pass to Jack Eichel, Montour was already speeding across the defensive blue line as an extra means of neutral-zone support. 

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With AHL playoff run likely, rookies making most of time in NHL

Updates from Friday's practice

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Trailing by two goals with five minutes to play, the Sabres never felt like they were out of their game against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.

They eventually fell in overtime, but not before they stormed back with a pair of goals from Casey Mittelstadt and Jack Eichel. Phil Housley credited the abundance of youth on the bench for the team's no-quit attitude. 

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Pilut joins Sabres in New Jersey, adding insurance on back end

Rookie defenseman has played 25 games for Buffalo this season

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

NEWARK, N.J. -  With Matt Hunwick nursing an upper-body injury and Zach Bogosian taking a maintenance day off from practice, the Sabres recalled defenseman Lawrence Pilut from Rochester on Sunday afternoon. 

Phil Housley said he expects Bogosian to be ready to play against the New Jersey Devils on Monday, but the addition of Pilut gives the Sabres insurance on the back end with another game awaiting them in Ottawa on Tuesday. 

Even if Bogosian does play, Pilut's presence give the Sabres the option to restore left-right balance on defense. The Sabres have been playing with four right shots, using Bogosian on his off side on a pair with Rasmus Ristolainen. 

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Costly mistakes mount in loss to Canadiens

Nylander extends point streak; Reinhart tallies 200th point

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

MONTREAL - Facing a raucous road atmosphere and an opponent fighting for a spot in the playoffs, the Sabres emphasized the importance of starting strong against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday night. They led 1-0 after the first period on the strength of a Sam Reinhart goal. 

In the second period, they got away from what made them successful. Costly mistakes mounted into a 7-4 loss, officially eliminating the team from playoff contention. 

"I thought we had a good first period," captain Jack Eichel said. "Second period, I thought maybe we got a little bit away from our game and I thought they were able to extend shifts in our end and we probably turned over too many pucks and that led to some of their goals. 

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Nylander set to skate alongside Eichel, Sheary in Montreal

Bogosian returns to practice; Hunwick remains day-to-day

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

When the Sabres arrive at Bell Centre for their game on Saturday night, they'll be met by a Montreal Canadiens team that is fighting to keep its grip on the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. 

It took two periods for the Sabres to adjust to the speed and intensity of their opponent in a similar situation on Wednesday, when they met a desperate Toronto Maple Leafs team that was motivated by a string of four losses in five games. The result was a 4-2 loss in a game in which Carter Hutton made 42 saves. 

"They came out with a strong start," Conor Sheary said. "We expected it, I just don't think we were ready. I think coming into tomorrow night, we should have a good start and hopefully come out with a win."

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Swedish Sabres eagerly await next season's NHL Global Series

Buffalo and Tampa Bay set to square off in Stockholm, Sweden in November

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

With news of the Sabres' involvement at the 2019 NHL Global Series breaking at 10 a.m. in Sweden - and 5 a.m. in Buffalo - Rasmus Dahlin woke up on Thursday to a flurry of text messages from family and friends, thrilled about the opportunity to see the rookie defenseman play an NHL game in person.

"They were so happy and excited for the game," Dahlin said. "A lot of my friends, they can't see NHL hockey live because it's over here and it's expensive to fly and stuff like that. I'm super happy for that they can see the game in Sweden."

Dahlin and the Sabres will play a pair of regular-season games against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden on Nov. 8 and 9. The Lightning boast another Swedish defensive talent in reigning Norris Trophy winner Victor Hedman.

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Nylander growing comfortable alongside Rodrigues, Sheary

Trio has out-attempted opponents 50-17 at even strength

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Alexander Nylander made his NHL debut with his older brother, William, on the opposite bench. The Toronto Maple Leafs won that game in Buffalo, 4-3, with the elder Nylander tallying an assist on an Auston Matthews goal in the first period. 

The younger Nylander, now nearly two years removed from that original meeting, will have the result on his mind when the two brothers meet for their first rematch during the Sabres' home game against the Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

"It's going to be a lot of fun," he said following practice at KeyBank Center on Tuesday. "I remember my first didn't go as we wanted. I just hope we get the win against them."

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With suspension behind him, Eichel set to return in Carolina

Bogosian returns to practice; Scandella day-to-day

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Jack Eichel was back in his normal spot at practice on Friday morning, centering a line with Jeff Skinner and Sam Reinhart. The Sabres captain has finished serving his two-game suspension for an illegal check to the head against Colorado Avalanche forward Carl Soderberg and will return to the lineup for the team's road game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.

Eichel admitted that sitting out the past two contests was no picnic. 

"I think whenever you miss a game - hurt, suspended, whatever it is - I think it's tough to sit in the press box, for sure," he said. "You want to be out there competing as much as you can so, yeah, it stinks not playing. It's good that it's over and you just move past it."

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Sabres' young trio to skate as linemates vs. Pens

Mittelstadt centered Nylander and Thompson at practice on Wednesday

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Casey Mittelstadt formed quick friendships with Alexander Nylander and Tage Thompson when the three players convened for training camp in September. They briefly skated as linemates, first at the Prospects Challenge and then in a preseason game against Toronto. 

If practice on Wednesday was any indication, the young trio is set to be reunited for the Sabres' home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday. 

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Nylander on recall: 'I know I'm ready for this'

Also: Eichel addresses two-game suspension

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Alexander Nylander had forced his way into the conversation to make the Sabres' roster out of training camp in September, opening eyes with his work ethic and attention to detail. It was a far cry from a year prior, when he missed the entirety of the preseason due to an injury. 

The third-year forward was among the final roster cuts on Oct. 1, yielding the last forward spot to Tage Thompson. He went back to Rochester with his eyes set on earning another chance.

"I wanted to be here, but I just tried to take it and learn as much as I could down there, being more experienced … to be as ready as possible when I get called back up," Nylander said. 

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