Sabres hit New Year in new spot

‘"We’ve won back-to-back now. Now we need to run a few more together. I think we know we can play with [Pittsburgh]. I don’t know for sure if we’re a better team than them. But I know we can play with them. I think our goal is to become a better team and make it even tougher on the other teams around us."’

Thursday’s Portland Coverage

Two more Pirates honored with selection to All-Stars (Portland press Herald)

Sabres storm back to upend Penguins

‘Stafford, scratched Sunday in St. Louis after going 15 games without a goal, scored the Sabres’ first two goals and set up the tying tally midway through the third. Jason Pominville completed the comeback with a power-play goal with 9:05 to play.’

Penguins give home team high marks for effort

‘”That’s what happens when you let teams hang around,” captain Sidney Crosby said. “For the most part, we worked pretty hard and probably deserved better.”‘

Stafford’s patience finally pays off

‘“Benching a player’s never easy. But at the same time, it’s all about what you come back with. It’s the response after being benched,” Ruff said. “He was our best player tonight, which is good.”’

Miller pulled for just second time

‘“When you have just one of those nights in your first 40, it’s not so bad. He’s been so solid for us,” Ruff said of pulling Miller, omitting the night on Long Island. “I guarantee you probably every starter in this league is going to get pulled this year and to get one after 40. It just looked like he was having a tough night. You’ve got to take the emotion out of it and give the other guy a go.”’

Lalime becoming nice insurance policy for Sabres

‘If the Sabres want to make a serious run at an Eastern Conference title, they will need Lalime to continue his strong play in spot starts, as Miller will need some additional rest with his involvement in the Olympics. If Miller is forced to play a majority of the games down the stretch due to unreliable play from Lalime, Miller could easily gas out like he did at the end of the 2008 season, missing the playoffs again.’

Wednesday’s Pittsburgh Coverage

3-0 advantage squandered (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

Staal Olympic verdict at hand (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

Penguins let one slip away in loss to Buffalo (Pittsburgh Tribune Review)

Penguins get out, push their way into Buffalo (Pittsburgh Tribune Review)

Aftermath: Sabres 4, Penguins 3 (PittsburghPenguins.com)

Photo gallery (PittsburghPenguins.com)

Photo gallery (Sabres.com)

Photo gallery (AP)

Pominville caps comeback as Sabres beat Pens 4-3

‘Stafford’s sixth multigoal game snapped a 15-game goal drought two days after he was a healthy scratch in a 5-3 win at St. Louis.’

Buffalo 4, Pittsburgh 3

‘With just over seven minutes to play in the second period, Penguins defenseman Jay McKee covered the puck in the crease with Fleury out of position, and the Sabres were awarded a penalty shot. Stafford was given the opportunity to shoot and scored low to the glove side to put the Sabres on the board.’

Stafford, Sabres Charge Back to Upend Pens 4-3

‘Patrick Lalime was simply outstanding after replacing Ryan Miller early on. Lalime faced 27 shots, and not a single one got by him to preserve the opportunity for Buffalo to win the game.’

Wednesday’s Portland Coverage

Ennis’ speedy transition earns him All-Star berth (Portland Press Herald)

Sabres hoping tough run over for Stafford

‘"He’s had a tough run," Ruff said after the Sabres prepared for the defending Stanley Cup champions. "From the scoring standpoint, there hasn’t been a lot of production. Sometimes if you sit a game it helps. You get to watch. The next time you get in you’re even hungrier."’

MSG Face Contract Expiration With DirecTV

‘The multiyear distribution contracts for Rainbow Media’s national services AMC, We TV, IFC and Fuse conclude with DirecTV on Dec. 31, as do the deals for regional sports networks MSG and MSG Plus. Sources familiar with the negotiations also indicate that Sundance Channel, which Rainbow acquired last year, and Wedding Central, the spin-off of the women’s-targeted We service, are also part of the negotiations.’

DirecTV may lose MSG as soon as Friday

‘DIRECTV could lose AMC, IFC, MSG, the Sundance Channel and other Rainbow Media-owned channels as early as this Friday, according to Multichannel News.’