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LAS VEGAS — For all the talk at the Stanley Cup final you heard about the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Barry Trotz and Marc-Andre Fleury, there was a player with a building buzz as the calendar crept into June and he had not played in an NHL game in more than two months. The name? Ryan O'Reilly. The Sabres center's locker cleanout day chat with reporters that resonated ar…

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Rasmus Ristolainen has played 346 games with the Buffalo Sabres. He's lost 227. When the Sabres say some players only know losing, Ristolainen is Exhibit A. "It's just really tough to lose all the time," the defenseman said. "Everyone wants to make playoffs so bad, and we weren't close. It's hard when at Christmas you're done kind of, and then you still have 40 games…

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When it comes to trash-talking, Rasmus Ristolainen has had better days. But when it comes to hockey, that's what things were supposed to look like. Ristolainen and his fellow Buffalo Sabres defensemen were a confident, aggressive group during Monday's victory over Toronto. They pressured the Maple Leafs by being first on the forecheck, pinching from the blue line and sk…

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Rasmus Ristolainen has seen the video. He shares the usual reaction. "It was funny," the Sabres defenseman said Tuesday. The TSN cameras caught a penalty-box exchange between Ristolainen and Toronto's Nazem Kadri after they fought Monday. A gif on Twitter by @TheFlintor captioned the chat, which featured Ristolainen saying the feisty players will meet four more times…

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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 …