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Man in the middle: Mittelstadt enjoying success between Skinner, Tuch

News and notes from Friday's practice

by Jon Rudder @JonRudder /

If you ask Sabres forward Casey Mittelstadt what's been different about his game lately, he has a difficult time putting a finger on what's caused the switch to flip. 

"I've been playing well since maybe the New Year or Christmas," Mittelstadt said. "I don't think too much has changed, just go try to make plays. Obviously, you see a few go in you get a little confidence and things start going."

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Thompson returns to practice after 3-game absence

Notes from Monday's practice at KeyBank Center

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Tage Thompson was a full participant in practice with the Sabres on Monday after missing the past three games with an upper-body injury, skating in his usual place on a line with Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch.

Thompson could play Tuesday against the Florida Panthers depending on his reaction to practice, Sabres coach Don Granato said. 

"As I've mentioned many times, when this thing resolves, it's going to completely resolve and until it resolves, it's going to impede him and what he needs to do," Granato said. "It's just one of those injuries that will impede your functioning until it resolves completely, and that could happen overnight. And today was a very good sign."

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Levi to make NHL debut vs. Rangers

Thompson, Samuelsson and Greenway game-day decisions

by Jon Rudder @JonRudder /

The only game Sabres rookie goaltender Devon Levi has played lately is the waiting game.

Now, the wait is over.

Levi will make his season debut on Friday night against the New York Rangers at KeyBank Center, the team announced today. The decision comes exactly two weeks after he signed his entry-level contract upon finishing his junior season with Northeastern.

"It's exciting. I've been dreaming of this moment my whole life, so for it to finally be here, it's a big deal," Levi said. "I'm really excited."

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Practice Report | Thompson remains day to day with upper-body injury

Levi participates in first full practice

by Jon Rudder @JonRudder /

Sabres forward Tage Thompson did not practice on Tuesday and remains day to day while he recovers from an upper-body injury. Thompson scored a goal on Friday night against the Devils but collided with New Jersey's Timo Meier and briefly left the ice.

Thompson returned to play Saturday in a 2-0 win over the Islanders but missed Monday night's 4-3 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

The Sabres' next game is Friday against the New York Rangers.

"The hope (is) that this will resolve by Friday, the issue he's dealing with, or to the point where it's much less pain than he's been playing with," Granato told The Jeremy White Show before practice.

Casey Mittelstadt stepped into Thompson's place between Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch at practice again Tuesday.  

 Video: AFTER PRACTICE: Granato


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Greenway returns to practice with Sabres

Notes from Thursday's practice

by Buffalo Sabres @BuffaloSabres /

Sabres' forward Jordan Greenway returned to practice on Thursday morning after missing Tuesday night's loss to the Nashville Predators with an upper-body injury. 

Greenway rotated into the team's line rushes. Sabres coach Don Granato said he's not ready to return to the lineup yet but is getting close. 

"It's a challenging situation to play (with an injury)," Granato said. "Nobody plays full-go but to get done what he needs to, he was out there and that was a good sign. But I think he still has a little bit to go."

Greenway, who was acquired from the Minnesota Wild at the trade deadline, said injuries are part of the game but no less frustrating, particularly when you're trying to acclimate yourself to a new organization. 

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Levi: 'I just felt in my heart that I wanted to be a Sabre'

Notes from Monday's practice at KeyBank Center

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Devon Levi has earned an analytical, process-driven reputation in his years developing from a seventh-round draft pick into one of the most accomplished goaltenders in NCAA history.

Levi is known to stay on the ice long after practices end. He uses virtual reality technology to take his training home and visualization techniques to keep his mind sharp. But the work all boils down to one simple objective, which he considers his purpose. 

"Just keep the puck out of the net," Levi said inside KeyBank Center on Monday. "That's what it comes down to. The guy that can do it the best is the guy that's going to play. 

"… There's so many different ways to do it, there's so many guys that did it differently. Just at the end of the day, it's just whether it crossed the line or not and just keeping it out. I feel like I was born to do this and it's my passion."

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Lyubushkin's comfort showing in recent production

Defenseman has 3 points in last 4 games

by Jon Rudder @JonRudder /

PHILADELPHIA - Buffalo Sabres defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin isn't known for putting up prolific offensive numbers. When the Sabres acquired the rugged, hard-nosed defenseman via free agency in the offseason, their goal was to solidify their depth on the blue line with a few key attributes. 

"I think my job is to play simpler, more aggressive," Lyubushkin said following the team's practice on Thursday afternoon. "Play good defense to help my team." 

Lyubushkin is one of those defensemen whose impact doesn't always show up in the box score. But in case you've looked at one recently, his recent production has come as no surprise. 

The Russian defenseman has collected three points in his last four games including a goal in the Sabres' 5-4 overtime loss to the Capitals on Wednesday night. While points aren't his priority, it's a reminder for Lyubushkin that hard work does indeed pay off. 

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Tuch returns to practice; Dahlin, Samuelsson out due to injuries

Notes from Sunday's practice at KeyBank Center

by Jourdon LaBarber @BuffaloSabres /

Alex Tuch was back on the ice with the Buffalo Sabres for practice at KeyBank Center on Sunday, but three others were absent due to injuries. 

Defensemen Rasmus Dahlin and Mattias Samuelsson both have upper-body injuries, the team announced. Dahlin is considered day to day; Samuelsson is week to week. Goaltender Eric Comrie is also week to week with a lower-body injury. 

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Sabres regroup in preparation for Rangers

Notes from Friday's practice at KeyBank Center

by Jon Rudder /

The Buffalo Sabres were back on the ice for practice Friday morning at LECOM Harbor Center following a 10-4 loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday night. Buffalo trailed 5-3 after Jeff Skinner scored 3:49 into the third period, but the Stars erupted for four-straight goals to separate themselves throughout the final frame. 

Following practice Sabres' head coach Don Granato said he felt his team is pressing, well aware of playoff implications and their position in the standings coming down the stretch. In pressing, Granato said his team effectively fatigues itself instead of imposing its will on their opponent. Despite the score, the bottom line is that his team lost out on a chance for two-points on Thursday night. 

It's important, he said, for the team to be patient and savor these games down the stretch as a critical learning opportunity. 

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Dahlin returns to practice, hasn't been ruled out for Saturday

Notes from Friday's practice at KeyBank Center

by Katelyn Kardaman @BuffaloSabres / Special to

Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin returned to practice Friday and has not been ruled out for tomorrow's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Sabres coach Don Granato announced.  

Dahlin skated with the team for the first time since missing the past three games with a lingering lower-body injury. He was placed on injured reserve yesterday, retroactive to February 24, to make room for Riley Stillman on the active roster. 

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