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It was a game that started bad and kept getting worse and worse for Rasmus Ristolainen. The absent-minded play of the Buffalo Sabres' No. 1 defenseman left coach Phil Housley no choice but to yank Ristolainen from the ice during 5-on-5 situations for virtually the entire second period of Sunday's 5-4 loss to Colorado. Housley gave Ristolainen his spot back for the th…

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The special-teams units for the Buffalo Sabres and Colorado Avalanche combined for five goals Sunday night. Colorado did more at even strength, and that was the difference. Buffalo's modest two-game winning streak came to an end with a 5-4 loss in KeyBank Center. The Avs entered the third period with a slim 3-2 edge, but they scored twice in the opening seven minutes…

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When the Sabres dumped the puck into their zone to start the morning skate, the top two defensemen went back for the retrieval. Rasmus Ristolainen wasn't one of them. The Buffalo blue-liner practiced on the second pairing with Nathan Beaulieu, and that's where he'll start Thursday's game against the New York Islanders. "He understands he hasn't played well since t…

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The redemption story was ready to be told. After Ryan O'Reilly scored into his own net to put the Buffalo Sabres down, he found Anaheim's net with 14.5 seconds left to tie it up. All that stood in the way of his feel-good tale was overtime. As usual, that didn't feel good. Overtime remained one of Buffalo's many Achilles' heels Tuesday. Poor passing and a bit of bad …

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TAMPA -- Back in the fall, there were few experts locally or across North America who pegged the Buffalo Sabres as a playoff team. But virtually no one pegged them to fall off a cliff, either. After the disappointment of last year's 78-point campaign and the much-ballyhooed hirings of coach Phil Housley and General Manager Jason Botterill, the most common consensus was …

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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Buffalo Sabres lost Rasmus Ristolainen for more than 50 minutes Thursday night and you wonder if they might lose their No. 1 defenseman for even longer than that. All on a play that was originally called a two-minute minor and probably shouldn't have gone past that. Ristolainen hit Minnesota's Mikko Koivu going across the middle midway through …

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NEW YORK – Sam Reinhart went through all of December without a goal. He opened January with one that jump-started the Buffalo Sabres. Given the drought and the stage, it was meaningful. "It was one of my better ones to see it go in in my life, for sure," Reinhart said after a 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Rangers in the Winter Classic. The right winger had bee…

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NEWARK, N.J. – No one had to tell Rasmus Ristolainen he was stuck on zero goals. The Buffalo Sabres defenseman knew it all too well. He also knew it presented an opportunity. The Sabres take center stage Monday at the Winter Classic, and the hockey world will be watching. Ristolainen figured he would step outside and get rid of his doughnut in dramatic fashion. He ce…

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Seven years ago, there was a lot of curiosity when the World Junior Championship hit town for the first time. We didn't know what we would see. Now, a lot of us know what to expect. Trust me on this one: Get ready for a wild 10 days downtown. And a crazy afternoon out in Orchard Park. The Swedes, the Finns and the Russians will always put on a good show. There will b…

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As the losses piled up for the Buffalo Sabres, the impressive work of their penalty killers got pushed to the background. Now that the Sabres are banking a few points, it's time for the short-handed unit to move to the front. It sure took center stage Tuesday. With the Sabres holding a 2-0 lead over Ottawa midway through the second period, Johan Larsson joined Benoit…

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CHICAGO -- Rasmus Ristolainen has played big minutes in his career before. But an eye-popping ice time total of 30:42 Tuesday in Denver came with lots extra attached to it. More snarl. More bite. Even after the whistle. He was the top-pair monster that Buffalo Sabres fans need to see every night on defense. "I want to play as many minutes as I can and try to find …

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Phil Housley has seen enough. There's no execution on the Buffalo Sabres' power play, so it's time for the coach to execute it. "We've got to do some hard looking at it," Housley said. The coach inherited the NHL's top power play, but he can be forgiven for not believing it. The Sabres are 30th in the 31-team league, and they've been blanked in 17 of their 24 games. …

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It's the Sabres and Edmonton Oilers Friday night at 7 in KeyBank Center, the third career meeting with 2015 draft studs Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid (each missed one matchup in their first two seasons). Here are Five Things to Know about tonight's game: 1. Risto is back: Rasmus Ristolainen has missed nine games with an upper-body injury suffered Nov. 2 in Arizona a…

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After nine games on the sidelines, the Sabres' top defenseman is back. Rasmus Ristolainen skated on the top pair with Marco Scandella at the morning skate Friday, paving the way for him to play Friday night when the Sabres host the Edmonton Oilers. Ristolainen has been out since suffering an upper-body injury Nov. 2 in Arizona. Ristolainen has five assists in 13 game…

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Buffalo's top right-handed defensemen skated Wednesday. It was a long time coming. It could become a regular occurrence. Injured blue-liners Rasmus Ristolainen and Zach Bogosian took part in an on-ice workout in KeyBank Center. Ristolainen has missed eight games with an upper-body injury while Bogosian has missed all 21 with a lower-body injury. Neither will play …