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Eichel has embraced leadership role, on pace for career year

Sabres captain making impact on and off the ice

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

It wasn't too long ago that Jack Eichel was an 18 year old beginning his NHL career, carrying the weight of being the No. 2 overall pick for a franchise that had experienced two straight last-place finishes. His defining quality off the ice might have been his sense of humor, which he wasn't afraid to show. 

Nowadays, Eichel is the 22-year-old captain of a team with another uber-talented 18 year old on its roster. That sense of humor is still there, but listening to Rasmus Dahlin describe Eichel on Wednesday offered a glimpse into how things have changed. 

"He's very serious," the rookie defenseman said. "He's passionate about the game and a great leader. Great guy and sick on the ice, of course. … He's a leader. I think he was born a leader. He's the guy who needs the 'C.'"

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Hutton optimistic following Monday's practice

Goalie nearing return after skating for second straight day

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Carter Hutton was back on the ice for practice with the Buffalo Sabres on Monday, skating for the second day in a row. The goaltender's status for Buffalo's game against Los Angeles on Tuesday has not been determined, but his recovery from an upper-body injury is trending in the right direction.  
"We're going to kind of see," Hutton said. "The skate went well today and that's all. Right now, we're just going to go with that. We'll see how tonight goes."

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Sabres eager to move forward following productive team meeting

Team addressed bad habits that led to loss on Saturday

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Phil Housley chalked up a 6-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday as "a stinker," and said his team could only control how it came to work the next day. 

The Buffalo Sabres didn't hide from that loss when they came to KeyBank Center on Sunday morning. They held a team meeting to go over what went wrong against the Flyers and addressed what they need to do to fix it. 

"We had to revisit it, for sure, just what happened, because that can't happen," alternate captain Kyle Okposo said. "We've been pretty good at home this year and I think that that game might've been coming for a little bit. That's unacceptable. 

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Sabres ready for Philadelphia following 'mental reset'

Tennyson, Wedgewood recalled; Sabres tweak power-play units

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

It might not seem like a lot, but three days at home have made for a refreshed atmosphere in the Buffalo Sabres' dressing room. The team took the day off on Tuesday, then held back-to-back practice days on home ice in preparation for their game against Philadelphia on Saturday. 

To understand what that time has meant, consider the stretch they just finished: 11 games in 19 days, with just one day off at home in that span. They navigated their way through four back-to-back sets, all of which required travel. 

"It's been nice to not practice and spend a normal day at home, just kind of see the kids and hang out," alternate captain Kyle Okposo said following practice on Friday. "It's been a nice mental reset. 

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How Lawrence Pilut earned big-time matchups against the Maple Leafs

Rookie defenseman played majority of his minutes against Matthews, Tavares

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Lawrence Pilut has no shortage of defining qualities. He's a dynamic skater on the ice and an affable personality off it, yet it's another trait that's stuck out most about the rookie defenseman to Sabres coach Phil Housley.

"I just like the competitive nature of Lawrence," Housley said. "He's a competitor in every sense of the word. … He fights for the puck, he wins his battles. He attacks the game the right way."

It's that competitive nature that equipped Pilut for the workload that's been bestowed upon him through the first three games of his NHL career. As the injury bug has continued to bite the Sabres defense, Pilut has seen his responsibilities increase with each passing contest. 

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Rookie of the Month Dahlin, Sabres prepare for difficult back-to-back set

Buffalo plays Nashville on Monday, hosts Toronto on Tuesday

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

NASHVILLE - Rasmus Dahlin entered the first month of his NHL career with a lot of hype surrounding him. The first-overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft has been getting more and more comfortable as the season progressed. 

Now, at the end of his second month in the league, the 18-year-old defenseman has been named the NHL's Rookie of the Month for November. 

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Pilut eager for opportunity with Sabres

Defenseman led AHL with 22 points in 15 games

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

While the Buffalo Sabres earned their way to a seventh straight win in front of a sellout crowd at KeyBank Center on Wednesday night, Lawrence Pilut was taking it all in from the press box. 

That atmosphere? He could get used to it. 

"Hopefully one night," the defenseman said following an optional skate at KeyBank Center on Thursday. "I'm ready for it. Be calm and just keep going."

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How improved habits have factored into Sabres' winning streak

Okposo says team is 'just scratching the surface' with early-season success

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Kyle Okposo felt he needed to pick up his game, for the sake of his teammates. 

The Sabres alternate captain felt he was having an off night on Monday, with his team pushing to erase a three-goal deficit against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He reached to find an extra gear, the sort that could lead to a play like this:

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Sheary talks first impressions of Buffalo ahead of return to Pittsburgh

Forward answers questions from ahead of 3-game road trip

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Conor Sheary was a key acquisition in the Buffalo Sabres' roster makeover this summer, both for his scoring ability and the impact he could have in the dressing room. 

The 26-year-old arrived in Buffalo with 48 goals and two Stanley Cups rings already under his belt in two and a half NHL seasons. He played in all but three of the Pittsburgh Penguins' playoff games in their back-to-back Cup runs in 2016 and 2017, often playing on Sidney Crosby's wing. 

So far, he's performed as advertised. Sheary's tallied 10 points (6+4) through his first 18 games as a Sabre, including five in his last five games (3+2). He spoke with on Thursday ahead of the team's three-game road trip, which will culminate in his return to Pittsburgh on Monday night. 

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Beaulieu developing chemistry alongside Dahlin

Defenseman has 3 points in last 2 games for Sabres

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Nathan Beaulieu drifted toward the slot and caught a pass from his defense partner, setting off the sequence of events that led to Jeff Skinner's first-period goal against Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.

It wasn't an ordinary D-to-D pass, but it's the type one needs to be ready for when playing alongside Rasmus Dahlin.

"I think me and him really think the game the same way," Beaulieu said following a team meeting at KeyBank Center on Tuesday. "On the first goal, you notice that. You don't really see plays happening like that too much, a D hitting another D in the slot.

"I just think that we think the game really well, the same way, so I think that makes things a lot easier to read in the offensive zone for both of us."

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