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  1. Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports The Sabres could’ve had a win, but they dropped the ball. Score: Red Wings 3, Sabres 2 (OT) Shots: BUF: 28 | DET: 35 Buffalo Sabres Goals: Henri Jokiharju, Jeff Skinner Detroit Red Wings Goals: Vladislav Namestnikov, Dylan Larkin (2) Minus-1: They Blew It. The Sabres had their chances to seal this game with a win, with a 2-0 lead going into the final 10 minutes of play. Could’ve, should’ve, would’ve. As we’ve seen in the past, Buffalo failed to finish the full sixty minutes and things fell apart in the last 9:39. Namestnikov got the Red Wings on the board about three minutes before Larkin tied it. Buffalo was lucky enough to hold on to force the game into overtime, but Larkin scored his second of the afternoon just 2:07 into the extra frame to give Detroit the extra point. Plus-1/Minus-1: Goals & Challenges. Jokiharju scored his second goal of the season, and Skinner tallied his 14th of the year: Joki from Dahls #LetsGoBuffalo pic.twitter.com/xfY4SDfyWj — Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) January 17, 2022 You better believe we have more smiling Jeff pics coming up. #LetsGoBuffalo pic.twitter.com/MXm8HUl4qp — Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) January 17, 2022 And the goal that wasn’t a goal: this beauty from Alex Tuch. Detroit challenged the play for offsides and won, but what a nice one it was. Alex Tuch scores but the play is ruled offside. No goal. pic.twitter.com/OE6s0SRGlD — The Charging Buffalo (@TheChargingBUF) January 17, 2022 Comment of the Game: Dell deserved better...(did i say that) - rexachs Final Thoughts Based on that third period performance and the little bit of overtime we saw, the Sabres didn’t deserve to win this Monday matinee. You can’t continually fall apart like that and expect to take points away from games, so they’re lucky they even got one. On the plus side, Aaron Dell actually looked halfway decent and made some impressive saves throughout the course of the game. Nice to see Peyton Krebs back in the lineup, too, and to watch Mattias Samuelsson make his season NHL debut after grinding it out in Rochester. The Sabres are right back at it on Tuesday night in Ottawa. View the full article
  2. Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images Can Buffalo bounce back after Saturday’s loss? Game 38 Buffalo Sabres (11-20-6) vs. Detroit Red Wings (17-17-5) Puck Drop: 1:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY TV: MSG, ESPN+ Radio: WGR 550 SB Nation Red Wings Blog: Winging it in Motown View the full article
  3. Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images Can Buffalo rebound after Saturday’s 4-0 loss? Game 38 Buffalo Sabres (11-20-6) vs. Detroit Red Wings (17-17-5) Puck Drop: 1:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY TV: MSG, ESPN+ Radio: WGR 550 SB Nation Red Wings Blog: Winging it in Motown Know Your Opponent Detroit Red Wings Record: 17-17-5 | 39 PTS Last Game: 4-0 win over Buffalo Division Ranking: 5th in Atlantic Division PP: 15.2% (29th) PK: 78.7% (18th) What to Watch 1. Stay Safe If you’re planning to head downtown to catch today’s matinee tilt in person, give yourself some extra time & take caution. The overnight snow storm in the WNY area dumped 18+ inches in some areas, many streets haven’t been plowed yet & you’ll almost certainly need to dig out your car! Many towns in the area also have travel advisories. As of 10:40 a.m., the Sabres/Red Wings game is still scheduled for 1 p.m. 2. Hoping to Rebound Saturday’s game, a 4-0 loss to these same Red Wings, was dreadful. (Thankfully, many of us probably missed it in favor of watching the more successful Buffalo pro sports team playing that evening). The Sabres need to play stronger, put shots on net and, you know, actually SCORE if they hope to find any success on Monday afternoon. 3. A Busy Week Monday’s matinee kicks off a stretch of four games in six days for the Sabres. After hosting Detroit today, they’ll visit the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night, then host Dallas (Thursday) and Philadelphia (Saturday). Projected Lineups Buffalo Sabres Forwards Jeff Skinner - Dylan Cozens- Alex Tuch Vinnie Hinostroza - Zemgus Girgensons - Kyle Okposo Rasmus Asplund - Mark Jankowski - Victor Olofsson Anders Bjork - Cody Eakin - John Hayden Defense Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju Jacob Bryson - Mark Pysyk Robert Hagg - Colin Miller Starting Goaltender: Aaron Dell Detroit Red Wings Forwards Vladislav Namestnikov - Michael Rasmussen - Adam Erne Tyler Bertuzzi - Dylan Larkin - Lucas Raymond Robby Fabbri - Pius Suter - Filip Zadina Givani Smith - Joseph Veleno - Sam Gagner Defense Danny Dekeyser - Moritz Seider Nick Leddy - Filip Hronek Marc Staal - Gustav Lindstrom Starting Goaltender: Alex Nedeljkovic (expected) View the full article
  4. Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images A place to discuss all that’s going on in the world of the Sabres and the NHL The Buffalo Sabres fell to two heavy defeats but were able to pull out a surprising win on the road against Nashville. The squad continues to be a revolving door of players dropping in and out every week which makes building any sort of coherent run that much more difficult for coach Don Granato. The coming week is going to be a busy one with four games on tap, starting with two within the division. Buffalo are currently 11-20-6 on the season and still sixth in the Atlantic Division. Buffalo Sabres vs Detroit Red Wings (17-17-5, 5th Atl), Monday 1/17, 1p ET Buffalo Sabres at Ottawa Senators (11-18-2, 7th Atl), Tuesday 1/18, 7p ET Buffalo Sabres vs Dallas Stars (18-15-2, 6th Cen), Thursday 1/20, 7p ET Buffalo Sabres vs Philadelphia Flyers (13-17-7, 6th Met), Saturday 1/22, 1p ET This open thread is for discussing all matters Buffalo Sabres and NHL related for this week. Of course, you can talk about anything else you like too. Feel free to add any links to developing news items as the week goes on in the comments below. Stay safe and let’s go Buffalo! Here’s a link to last week’s open thread in case you need to reference anything. View the full article
  5. Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images Sabres Shutout in 4-0 Loss Score: Red Wings 4, Sabres 0 Shots: BUF: 22 DET: 36 Detroit Red Wings: Goals: Tyler Bertuzzi (1), Robby Fabbri (1), Lucas Raymond (1) Michael Rasmussen (1) Minus 1: Sabres Can’t Score on Power Play Opportunities The Detroit Red Wings scored on two power play goals in the 1st period, a Colin Miller hooking penalty and a Cody Eakin 4-minute major, making it 2-0 near the end of the major. The Buffalo Sabres had three power play opportunities in the 2nd period, but failed to capitalize on any of them. Lucas Raymond added to Detroit’s lead at the start of the 3rd period. Midway through the 3rd, the Sabres had a chance to at least avoid being shut out during a Mike Rasmussen tripping penalty, but the team fell short again. As soon as Rasmussen came out the box, he beat Aaron Dell to open up a 4-0 Red Wings lead. Toward the end of the game, Rasmussen gave the Sabres another chance when he roughed Vinnie Hinostroza, but Buffalo couldn’t score in the closing minutes. Minus 2: Buffalo Showed Lack of Offense, Inconsistent Once Again Detroit dominated the 1st period, outshooting the Sabres 22 to 6. Shots were more even during the rest of the game, but the Red Wings showed an offensive strength the Sabres were unable to match. Buffalo struggled to control the puck, get enough shots on goal or really test Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic. WesIsaLeo had the Comment of the Game “Had a feeling they’d follow a really satisfying game with an absolute dud; haven’t been disappointed.” The Sabres beat the Nashville Predators 4-1 on Jan. 14th, with a solid offensive and defensive effort, but then followed that up with 60 minutes that would embarrass an amateur beer league team. Once again, the Sabres have been inconsistent, playing incredible one night and terrible the next. Lack of consistent output is why Buffalo remains stuck in 6th place in the Atlantic Division and unlikely to improve anytime soon, unless the Sabres can play better every game, not just occasionally. Minus 3: Shutouts are Inexcusable How many NHL teams are down 2, 3 or even 4 goals and come back in the 3rd period to make their opponents and their fans nervous? Good teams know how to do that. Getting shutout against an opponent one spot above you in the NHL Standings is pathetic. The Sabres had good chances to score but spent too much time chasing the puck in their own end and trying to playing catch up, and it showed. Final Thoughts The Buffalo Sabres haven’t put together a pair of wins since Dec. 16, 2021. As long as the team continues to take it easy after a big victory, the chances of the Sabres becoming a winning franchise will remain elusive. The Sabres host the Red Wings at home in a Monday afternoon rematch on 1/17 at 1pm. View the full article
  6. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports Buffalo & Detroit face off in first game of home-and-home Game 37 Buffalo Sabres (11-19-6) vs. Detroit Red Wings (16-17-5) Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | Little Caesars Arena | Detroit, MI TV: MSG, ESPN+ Radio: WGR 550 SB Nation Red Wings Blog: Winging it in Motown View the full article
  7. Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports Buffalo visits Detroit following big win in Nashville Game 37 Buffalo Sabres (11-19-6) vs. Detroit Red Wings (16-17-5) Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | Little Caesars Arena | Detroit, MI TV: MSG, ESPN+ Radio: WGR 550 SB Nation Red Wings Blog: Winging it in Motown Know Your Opponent Detroit Red Wings Record: 16-17-5 | 37 PTS Last Game: 3-0 Loss Against the Winnipeg Jets Division Ranking: 5th in Atlantic Division PP: 14% (31st) PK: 77.7% (24th) What to Watch 1. Keep it Going After a six-game losing streak, the Sabres are looking to get back on track following a huge win against the Predators Thursday night. Perhaps the most noticeable takeaway from the game was the Sabres scoring first (crazy, right?) and not only maintaining a lead but widening the gap after a full 60 minutes. As a team, it was a great game that they should look to duplicate tonight against the Red Wings. Since Buffalo is terrible at playing catch-up, look for them to hopefully get on the board first again. Working in their favor is Detroit having difficulty scoring in their last game as they were shut out by the Jets. In their last six road games, the Sabres are 3-1-2, so it wouldn’t be the craziest thing to win two in a row or at the very least, grab a point. Buffalo and Detroit will face off again on Monday in Buffalo. 2. Spinner Skinner Looking red hot these days is Jeff Skinner (“Party in the USA!”). Mr. Smiley helped lead his team to victory on Thursday night with his two goals and he now has 13 goals and 21 points. I think it’s safe to say that Skinner no longer (and never did) belong in the bottom six. Perhaps we will even see another spin-o-rama goal tonight to keep things fun. Additionally, Alex Tuch has returned and won his first game in a Sabres jersey on Thursday. He also contributed an assist on Skinner’s second goal. Look for Tuch to continue to lead in ice time for forwards - his TOI last game was just under 20 minutes. 3. Go Bills If you are a Sabres fan, chances are, you are a bigger Bills fan since they are the only team that is giving hope to Buffalo sports fans these last few years. Honestly, will you even be watching hockey tonight? If so, good for you, but let’s be honest with ourselves, shall we? Go Bills! Projected Lineups Buffalo Sabres Forwards Jeff Skinner - Dylan Cozens- Alex Tuch Vinnie Hinostroza - Zemgus Girgensons - Kyle Okposo Rasmus Asplund - Mark Jankowski - Victor Olofsson Anders Bjork - Cody Eakin - John Hayden Defense Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju Jacob Bryson - Mark Pysyk Robert Hagg - Colin Miller Starting Goaltender: Aaron Dell Detroit Red Wings Forwards Vladislav Namestnikov - Michael Rasmussen - Adam Erne Tyler Bertuzzi - Dylan Larkin - Lucas Raymond Robby Fabbri - Pius Suter - Filip Zadina Givani Smith - Joseph Veleno - Sam Gagner Defense Danny Dekeyser - Moritz Seider Nick Leddy - Filip Hronek Marc Staal - Gustav Lindstrom Starting Goaltender: Alex Nedeljkovic (expected) View the full article
  8. Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports The Sabres have been dropping goalies like flies. In this episode, Luke and Josh sit down and talk some of the player movement that’s been going on within the Buffalo Sabres organization. Between Okposo, Tuch and Jankowski coming out of Coivd protocol, Jack Quinn’s NHL debut and many more moving pieces you don’t want to miss this. Once again there are tendy troubles in Buffalo. Now with both UPL and Malcom Subban going down with injuries following the Tampa Bay game, they’re now left with Aaron Dell and Michael Houser in net. Tune in to hear what Josh has to say about potential goalies that could be on the market. The U.S. dropped their rosters for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The Sabres might have players going to it and one of them being a college goaltender right now. He’s been playing at the top of his game and might have a chance to play against older more experienced competition and we can see if he really is the goalie of the future. Also.... GO BILLS! Ep. 8 Transcript.pdf View the full article
  9. Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports Dahlin has been selected for the first time in his NHL career, while Thompson could be selected for the first time as well. Prior to Wednesday night’s game in Nashville, Rasmus Dahlin accomplished something that he had yet to do in his young National Hockey League career - be named to the league’s All Star Game. We’ve got a Dahl-star on our hands… Rasmus Dahlin is your 2022 #NHLAllStar! Congrats, Ras! ➡️ https://t.co/dHyHTPKTDP pic.twitter.com/zgW0YZ2Yz3 — Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) January 13, 2022 Dahlin, 21 years old, is in his fourth season with the Buffalo Sabres. Over the span of his young career, Dahlin’s development has led him to playing top minutes for the Sabres this season. This season, Dahlin leads the Sabres with 23:59 time on ice. He also leads the team’s defensemen in goals (six), assists (16) and points (22). Despite some noted struggles throughout the season, Dahlin’s attitude is something that stands out to Sabres head coach Don Granato. “Sometimes other guys have a bad night, they don’t want to talk to a coach, they want to hide from a coach,” Granato told Sabres.com on Wednesday. “This guy, he cannot handle not having success, and he’ll look in the mirror and say, ‘I need to be better.’” On top of the Dahlin announcement, the National Hockey League announced their “Last Men In” choices for each division, While we're all here... Let's get Tommer to #NHLAllStar! Vote for him here: https://t.co/686OvCNDHR pic.twitter.com/Z2NvyK324w — Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) January 14, 2022 Buffalo Sabres forward Tage Thompson was included in the list of Atlantic Division players eligible to be voted into the All-Star Game by fans. Thompson, vying for his first-ever All-Star Game appearance, has had a career-year already in the 2021-22 season. Through 34 games, Thompson has set a career-high in goals (12), assists (11) and points (23). Thompson has notably had his struggles in Buffalo after being acquired back on July 1, 2018 but under Don Granato, Thompson’s game has blossomed. “He’s starting to learn how valuable his size his strength is.,” Granato told Sabres.com back in November. “He’s starting to realize how strong he is holding 6-foot-4 defensemen off until he can make a play, which you just don’t find many guys in the league that can do that. He’s starting to do that and I think when he does it enough he’s going to realize how powerful that is and really take advantage of it.” You can CLICK HERE to vote for Tage Thompson and send him to the NHL All-Star Game in Las Vegas. View the full article
  10. Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Aaron Dell easily played his best game in a Sabres uniform and Mark Jankowski scored his first goal as a Buffalo Sabre. Score: Sabres 4 | Predators 1 Shots: BUF 21 | NSH 30 Buffalo Sabres Goals: Mark Jankowski (1), Jeff Skinner (12, 13), Vinnie Hinostroza (8) Nashville Predators Goals: Matt Duchene (17) Plus 1: Strong Start Results In Jankowski Getting His First Goal As A Buffalo Sabre The Sabres came out the gates ready to play in Nashville. For the majority of the first period they controlled play against one of the hottest teams in the league. Mark Jankowski was rewarded with his first goal of the season after deflecting a shot on net that eventually got knocked into the Predators net by their own defenseman. The Sabres applied a solid offensive zone pressure throughout the period resulting in multiple quality scoring chances. Minus 1: Penalty Troubles In the Second Period Allow Predators To Capitalize The Predators dictated the majority of play right from the start of the second period. The Sabres were fortunate to have a goal against disallowed due to an off-sides. They were later punished on the penalty kill when Matt Duchene knocked in a loose puck during a scramble in front of the net. Coming into the game the Predators had a top 5 power-play, so giving them multiple opportunities on the man advantage was certainly not part of the Sabres game-plan. I will say that the hit thrown by Aaron Dell was great to watch, and not something you see on a regular basis. He was called for interference on the play, which in my opinion is questionable, but it was good to see some push-back on his part. Plus 2: Aaron Dell Stands Tall Throughout The Game The Sabres goalie brought his own physicality to the game. His energy seemed to spark the rest of the team to play a heavier third period and ultimately close out the game with a win. Dell looked very good in all three periods and stopped multiple quality scoring chances. Congrats to Aaron for his first victory as a Buffalo Sabre, which happened to come on his first NHL start as a father. Final Thoughts Jeff Skinner may never live up to his contract, but putting that aside, he has shown throughout this season that he can still be a very good player on a below average hockey team. He may not have blazing straight line speed, but his edge work and willingness to battle in the dirty areas has been apparent this year, and showed on the Sabres second goal of the game. Brilliant skating ability was once again shown on his second goal of the game. A beautiful spin-o-rama allowed him to get by two Nashville defensemen, one a former Norris trophy winner, where he rifled a shot that beat Juuse Saros clean. Victor Olofsson has not looked like himself this season, and depending on the Sabres long term plans with this player may or may not be a good thing. An injury he suffered earlier in the season was said to have impacted his shot, but during this game it was stated that currently this season he only has a single power play goal. Given he will be an RFA at the end of the year the Sabres could get a nice discount on term or AAV if they intend on keeping him with the team. If not, his value is not as high as it once was, and it’s possible the Sabres could use him as a trade piece before his value drops lower depending on their thoughts on his future with the team. Dylan Cozens had a very up and down night. He made some nice plays and was complimented by the ability of his line-mates in Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch. There were multiple times throughout the game where it looked like he made one move too many, and often lost the puck or was sprawling on the ice. It is a tall task for this talented second year player to jump into a number one center role, especially against a team like Nashville, hopefully another notch on his belt to learn from. Alex Tuch looks great, not much to say here other than I’m thrilled he was part of the Eichel package. I can’t wait to see what he does for the team next year with a full season of play and the injection of very talented youth like Owen Power, Jack Quinn, and more. Rasmus Dahlin was selected to be an NHL all-star which was announced prior to the game. All I can say is good for this young player with tons of untapped potential. His play has really improved as of late, and he looks to have some chemistry with Alex Tuch already. The selection to the all-star game will hopefully infuse some confidence to Dahlin who plays his best hockey when he isn’t second guessing himself. View the full article
  11. Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images Can the Sabres get out of their funk in Music City? Game 36 Buffalo Sabres (10-19-6) vs. Nashville Predators (24-11-2) Puck Drop: 8:00 PM | Bridgestone Arena | Nashville, TN TV: MSG-B Radio: WGR 550 SB Nation Predators Blog: On The Forecheck View the full article
  12. Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports Buffalo looks to rebound against Predators Game 36 Buffalo Sabres (10-19-6) vs. Nashville Predators (24-11-2) Puck Drop: 8:00 PM | Bridgestone Arena | Nashville, TN TV: MSG-B Radio: WGR 550 SB Nation Predators Blog: On The Forecheck Know Your Opponent Nashville Predators Record: 24-11-32 | 50 PTS Division Ranking: 1st in Central Division PP: 4th (27%) PK: 9th (82.5%) What to Watch 1. Preds on the Hunt Nashville has been on an absolute tear in their last 14 games (12-1-1) and have won their last 5 games. Juuse Saros has emerged as a perfect successor to Pekka Rinne’s net by posting a 2.27 GAA and .928 SV%. Not to be outdone, Matt Duchene and Mikael Granlund have returned to form to produce at nearly point-per-game paces. Filip Forsberg may be on the COVID list, but captain Roman Josi is making his yearly case for Norris consideration with 37 points in 35 games. In Nashville’s overtime victory versus Colorado on Tuesday, he notched three assists while skating nearly 30 minutes. The Sabres will have their hands full trying to slow down the Predators’ potent offense. 2. Goalie Shuffle If Tuesday’s beating at the hands of Tampa Bay wasn’t enough, Sabres fans were dealt another hit below the belt as UPL and Malcolm Subban joined Anderson and Tokarski on the injury report. UPL is week to week with a lower body injury and Subban is month to month with an upper body injury. This led to Buffalo calling up last year’s feel-good story in Michael Houser and this year’s disappointment in Aaron Dell. As the reported starter, Dell looks to build on the 5-0-0 record he posted in Rochester since being sent down. We can only hope he upgraded his goaltending software and corrected the glitches in his game we saw earlier this season. Against the red hot Preds, A-A-ron will need all the help he can get. 3. Here Goes Nothing It’s no secret Buffalo has been struggling mightily since their surprising start and tonight is a tough matchup against the Central Division leading Preds. They’re without two of their top three centers and down to their 5th and 6th string goalies. Expectations couldn’t be lower for this group. However, that might work to their advantage. They can play loose and have reinforcements arriving in co-captain Kyle Okposo and relatively new addition Alex Tuch. Look for this team to play with some fire as they try to rebound from Tuesday’s listless loss. Keep in mind: Buffalo pulled off a surprising 3-2 victory against the Wild the last time they played a top Central Division opponent on the road. It wouldn’t be the craziest thing to happen during an NHL game this week. Projected Lineups Buffalo Sabres Forwards Skinner - Cozens - Tuch Asplund - Jankowski - Olofsson Hinostroza - Girgensons - Okposo Bjork - Eakin – Hayden Defense Dahlin - Jokiharju Bryson - Pysyk Hagg – Miller Starter: Dell Nashville Predators Forwards Cousins - Granlund - Duchane Tolvanen - Johansen - Kunin Luff - Sissons - Jeannot Smith - McCarron – Tomasino Defense Josi - Benning Ekholm - Carrier Borowiecki – Fabbro Starter: Saros View the full article
  13. Goaltender Devon Levi #1 of Canada fends off Vasili Podkolzin #19 of Russia during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship semifinals at Rogers Place on January 4, 2021 in Edmonton, Canada. | Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images Levi was a stud at the 2021 World Junior Championships and is one of the best goalies in the NCAA this season There’s a lot of talk about Buffalo Sabres goaltending, but it’s prospect goalie Devon Levi who is making lots of ears perk up. The Sabres have had issues in goal this season and they’ve only gotten worse thanks to new injuries to Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Malcolm Subban. They joined Craig Anderson and Dustin Tokarski on the shelf, which has fans looking to the future for the team and in goal. There was already a lot of attention on Luukkonen and, to a lesser degree, University of Michigan’s Erik Portillo but it’s Levi, a sophomore at Northeastern, who is having the best season of them all and giving fans more hope for a rock-solid future between the pipes. Levi was acquired in the Sam Reinhart trade to the Florida Panthers, but he was the secondary part of the deal because the Sabres got a first-round pick from Florida as well. We’ll find out what Buffalo gets for that pick in the summer, but Levi has become a player with serious interest with how he played for Canada in the 2021 World Junior Championship and this season in the NCAA. Levi made a name for himself last year in the World Juniors when he turned in an incredible performance in leading Canada to the silver medal. He went 6-1-0 in the tournament and his only loss came 2-0 to the United States in the gold medal game. He tied United States goalie, and fellow Panthers draft pick, Spencer Knight with three shutouts. He allowed five goals in seven games with a .964 save percentage. It was a stunning run of play and mostly unexpected because the biggest question surrounding Canada ahead of the tournament was goaltending. Levi had more than enough answers. “(Levi)’s fast post to post, I like his steady glove; He comes out to smother shots and pucks,” Russ Cohen of Sirius/XM NHL Network said via email. “Levi is smart with the puck. His stickwork is good including steady passes up the ice and safer passes behind the net. (He) makes the right save at the right time and the big save when you need it. “I think he’s an NHL goaltender. I’m not a goalie expert, but I like his potential as a 1B or backup someday,” Cohen said. Now in his sophomore season at Northeastern, Levi is one of the top goalies in the nation. Through 21 games at Northeastern he is 15-5-1 with a .953 save percentage and a 1.38 goals-against average and eight shutouts. He leads the NCAA in save percentage, he’s third in wins, and fourth in goals-against average and he’s got the Huskies third in Hockey East and ranked ninth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll. For a guy who was taken in the seventh round in 2020, he’s stacking up a résumé and a profile that brings higher expectations. What comes with raised hopes are big ideas, some of which are popping up now. After seeing the Carolina Hurricanes sign goalie Jack LaFontaine out of the University of Minnesota on Monday, some fans are hoping the Sabres will sign Portillo or Levi out of college to take the net. Given Kevyn Adams’ wont to develop players properly, it seems highly doubtful that would happen, especially with the Sabres not having playoff hopes this season. As it is, the Sabres weren’t eager to press Luukkonen into duty at the NHL level in hopes to give him as many games as possible in Rochester. Times, needs, and situations change though. In a normal situation, Levi would be likely looking to sign an entry-level deal after next season. Assumption would be that Portillo would sign after this season. Is it worth it to Buffalo to throw the plan out the window because of a freakishly bad turn of luck in a season which they’ve won five of their past 28 games (5-18-5)? No way. That said, with Levi performing the way he is this season it’s easy to think it’s a move they can live with. Northeastern is scheduled to return to action at Vermont on Tuesday, January 18. The game is broadcast ($) on College Sports Live. Editor’s Note: On Tuesday, Levi was named a nominee for the Hobey Baker Award. Vote here. View the full article
  14. Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images Buffalo has four netminders out on injury/COVID protocol. The Buffalo Sabres’ goaltending situation has turned even bleaker than it already was, after both netminders were injured in Tuesday night’s loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Sabres now have a whopping FOUR goaltenders on their injured list, and the prognosis isn’t great for any of them: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who started Wednesday’s game, left after the first period with a lower-body injury and didn’t return. After an MRI, he’s considered week-to-week. Malcolm Subban came in to relieve UPL, but he too was eventually hurting after Lightning forward Pat Maroon fell on him. (He did stay in and completed the rest of the game, so the Sabres weren’t forced into an EBUG situation). Now, he’s considered month-to-month with an upper-body injury. Craig Anderson remains month-to-month, also with a UBI, while Dustin Tokarski is considered week-to-week as he recovers from his bout with COVID. The team is in a tough spot, and has now been forced to recall Aaron Dell and sign Michael Houser. Houser wasn’t previously on an NHL contract but has signed a one-year deal worth $750,000. If you’ve watched any Sabres hockey this season, you don’t need me to tell you how poorly Dell has performed at the NHL level. He appeared in seven games earlier in the season, accrued a 4.52 GAA and .872 save percentage and failed to register even one win. His numbers at the AHL level in his limited stint in Rochester have been better, but that’s a completely different playing field and level of play. He’s 5-0-0 with the Amerks, with a 2.76 GAA and .910 save percentage. Unfortuantely, it’s not realistic to expect that these numbers will transfer over. Houser has appeared in 11 games with Rochester, going 5-4-0 with a 2.98 GAA and .900 save percentage. He has only played four NHL games in his career, all of them during the 2020-21 season with Buffalo. As it stands right now, it looks like Dell & Houser will be the Sabres’ tandem for a while, which is less than ideal for an already-struggling team. The other question which some have posed: do we see the Sabres try to get either Erik Portillo or Devon Levi to follow in the footsteps of Jack Lafontaine and leave college early to sign an NHL deal in a pinch? The Sabres are set to return to action on Thursday in Nashville. View the full article
  15. Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports Buffalo barely stood a chance against one of league’s most talented squads. Score: Lightning 6 | Sabres 1 Shots: TBL 36 | BUF 18 Buffalo Sabres Goals: Vinnie Hinostroza (7) Tampa Bay Lightning Goals: Ondrej Palat (15), Anthony Cervelli (10), Nikita Kucherov (2, 3, 4), Steven Stamkos (17) Minus 1 | Couldn’t Get Much Worse Than This Whenever the defending Stanley Cup Champions come into town, fans are on alert. These games always provide somewhat of a measuring stick as to where the Buffalo Sabres currently are in the grand scheme of things. Unfortunately for Buffalo, they appear to be well behind the curve. From the opening faceoff, it was clear that Tampa Bay’s overall speed and skill was just too much for Buffalo as a whole. Even though a 6-1 final is ugly, it feels like things could have been a lot worse. Minus 2 | The Injury Bug Returns The Covid-depleted Buffalo Sabres can ill afford any further trip-ups with their collective health. Wishing upon a star did not work for the Sabres on Tuesday night, as they lost goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen after just 20 minutes of play. Injury update: Goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will not return to tonight’s game (lower body). — Sabres PR (@SabresPR) January 12, 2022 There was no update on Luukkonen’s status after Tuesday night’s loss but one has to imagine that further testing is on the horizon for the young goaltender. Buffalo might have dodged a bullet depth-wise, with Dustin Tokarski returning to practice following a bout with Covid, but it is clear the Sabres are a better team with Luukkonen in goal. Plus 1 | Welcome to the NHL The Buffalo Sabres welcomed top prospect Jack Quinn to their lineup last night for the first time in his career. The best tradition Hot lap for @jackquinn_19’s @NHL debut! pic.twitter.com/FufnbK14vF — Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) January 11, 2022 Continuing the long-standing tradition, Quinn took his solo hot lap around the ice before being joined by his teammates. To add to all the pomp and circumstance of Quinn’s debut, former Americans teammates were in attendance as well. .@jackquinn_19’s biggest fans here for his @NHL debut #LetsGoBuffalo | @M_samuelsson23 pic.twitter.com/uckY60E3XL — Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) January 11, 2022 Quinn ended the night without recording a point in 16:30 on ice. The rookie did lead the Sabres with three shots on goal and even played 3:07 on the power play. Final Thoughts While the Buffalo Sabres collected yet another loss on Tuesday night, expectations have to remain tempered. With their lineup depleted due to injury and Covid, the road traveled will likely be a bumpy one for a little bit. The Buffalo Sabres travel to Nashville to take on the Predators this Thursday night. Puck drops shortly after 8PM ET and the game can be seen on MSG. View the full article
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