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Hutton, Ullmark enjoying early success under Bales

Sheary returns to practice; Krueger offers update on Granato

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

ANAHEIM - Ralph Krueger has stressed since the start of training camp that the Sabres feel confident with either of their two goalies in net. Never has that been more evident than in their past two wins. 

Linus Ullmark got the nod against the Florida Panthers on Friday. He stopped 41 shots, then blanked the Panthers in the shootout to secure a 3-2 victory. It was his second performance of 40-plus saves in as many starts this season. 

The Sabres turned to Carter Hutton for their next game, against the Dallas Stars on Monday afternoon. He turned away all 25 of the shots he faced for his first shutout with the organization, staying undefeated through four appearances. 

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Jokiharju impressing with confidence, poise in defensive zone

Defenseman's breakout passes led to offense vs. Florida

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Henri Jokiharju said upon being acquired by the Sabres in July that it was his goal to play the full season in the NHL. It's early, and coach Ralph Krueger has emphasized that internal competition will remain throughout the season, but Jokiharju's five-game start certainly has him on the right track. 

Krueger said after practice on Sunday that Jokiharju and rookie forward Victor Olofsson were given the go-ahead to look for places to live in the area, a positive sign for the 20-year-old defenseman.

"They're both out hunting for places to live," Krueger said. "But, again, the competition in the league doesn't stop. The pressure on you [to perform] doesn't stop."

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Dahlin's play at the point has contributed to power-play success

Defenseman leads NHL blue liners with 7 points in 4 games

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Rasmus Dahlin smirked when asked what's changed for the Sabres on the power play from a year ago. 

"Olofsson is here," the defenseman said matter-of-factly. 

Yes, Victor Olofsson's lethal shot had been a difference maker for a Buffalo power play that leads the NHL with eight goals in four games. Olofsson has six goals in 10 contests dating back to the end of last season, all of which have come with the extra man. 

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Rodrigues expected to join lineup against Montreal

Forward practice in place of Conor Sheary, who is day-to-day

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Evan Rodrigues admits he was surprised to learn he would be a healthy scratch for the Sabres on opening night. It was his response that left an impression on coach Ralph Krueger. 

"He's the one that said to me, 'Somebody's going to be in this spot all season long,'" Krueger said after practice on Tuesday. "He took it really well."

Rodrigues will step into the lineup for his season debut when the Sabres host the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. He will replace Conor Sheary, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. 

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Sabres have received contributions from throughout lineup in opening wins

Kruger says players have bought into their roles

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Ralph Krueger was asked about the effectiveness of his fourth line on Sunday, and his response offered some insight into his coaching philosophy. 

"Which one is the fourth line?" he retorted. 

Krueger was being playful, but his point stood. The line in question was that of Zemgus Girgensons, Johan Larsson, and Kyle Okposo, and the coach went on to explain why he doesn't view that trio - or any others - in terms of rank. 

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'It's a complete honor': Eichel looks ahead to Captains Night

Forward will join 15 former captains during pregame ceremony on Saturday

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Fans who walk into KeyBank Center on Saturday night will be greeted by a series of banners hung throughout the atrium, each depicting a moment from the Sabres' 50-year history. 

There are images of Dominik Hasek, Pat LaFontaine, Danny Gare, and Daniel Briere. Fans will see Gilbert Perreault being carried on the shoulders of his teammates after scoring his 500th NHL goal and Ryan Miller and company at the inaugural Winter Classic in Orchard Park. 

Among those banners is an image of Jack Eichel celebrating his second NHL goal. Eichel will again find himself among Sabres greats prior to Saturday's home opener against New Jersey, when the team welcomes 15 former captains to the ice as part of a pregame ceremony. 

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Johansson, McCabe named Sabres alternate captains to start 2019-20 season

Krueger: 'Everybody has been showing signs and moments of leadership'

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Marcus Johansson spent September adjusting to a new city, a new coach, and new linemates. He even had to adapt to playing center, a position he had not played regularly since early in his career. 

As he packed his bag for his first regular-season road trip with the Sabres, Johansson - who was named an alternate captain along with Jake McCabe on Wednesday - said he feels like the month of preparation has paid off. 

"Yeah, absolutely," Johansson said. "It feels like we're - just looking at practice - it feels like guys are ready. I mean, there's high intensity, guys look hungry. This is when the fun starts. Yeah, we're ready. This is what we worked for all summer. It's finally here."

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Sabres express confidence in defense depth following injury to Montour

Jokiharju among players who will look to step up in defenseman's absence

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

The Sabres will see their defensive depth tested with the announcement that Brandon Montour will miss the remainder of the preseason due to a hand injury.

Montour sustained the injury during the team's preseason game in Columbus on Tuesday. Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said he is not expected to be ready for opening night, though the initial hope is that his return will come early in the regular season. 

The defenseman spent the summer rehabbing from a sprained knee he sustained while representing Team Canada at the IIHF World Championship in May. 

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Sabres embracing 'connected' game following Day 1 of camp

Players express optimism for new style of play

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

The last thing players will see as they step out of their KeyBank Center dressing room this season will be a newly placed sign above the doors, a trio of swords containing the mantra that coach Ralph Krueger hopes to instill into Sabres hockey. 

It reads: Play Connected.

Krueger has used the phrase as a basic tenet of his coaching philosophy throughout the offseason. His goal for the next three weeks and beyond is to establish a recognizable brand of hockey that's unique and identifiable with the Sabres. 

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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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