Conflicted Buffalo Sabres fans don’t know who to cheer for in basement battle with Arizona Coyotes

‘The crowd booed. Were they mad that the Sabres hadn’t won in regulation? Or mad that they hadn’t lost?’

Gagner lifts Coyotes to 4-3 win over Sabres in OT

‘Tyler Ennis, Brian Gionta and Rasmus Ristolainen scored in the Sabres’ fourth-consecutive loss. It’s the seventh time this season Buffalo has a skid of at least four games.’

Arizona 4, Buffalo 3 (OT)

‘Tyler Ennis and Rasmus Ristolainen had the other two goals for Buffalo, which has dropped four in a row and 11 of its last 12 (1-8-3). Hackett was shaken up by a collision in the third period but remained in the game and finished with 38 saves.’

Sabres activate Kaleta from IR

‘Kaleta underwent surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament and remove bone chips in his knee. He is expected to return to the lineup Thursday against the Coyotes and play for the first time since Feb. 10.’

Buffalo fans cheer against Sabres in Coyotes’ OT win

‘The game featured the two worst teams in the league, and a large portion of fans in attendance wanted the hometown Sabres to lose to better their chances of finishing 30th — which would guarantee either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel in the NHL Draft. The young standouts are considered the prizes of the draft, and the Coyotes now have six points more than the Sabres.’

Buffalo Sabres possess a deep pool of late-rounders at the NCAA level

‘The Sabres can retain the rights of players drafted from the NCAA or Europe for much longer than their CHL peers. It allows players to develop over a longer period of time, and even though most late-round draft picks never turn pro, a bit of patience comes at no extra cost to the Sabres.’

Sabres score late, Coyotes Triumph in OT

‘Buffalo would finally net the equalizer with less than 5 minutes remaining in the third as Shane Doan turned the puck over right to the stick of Brian Gionta who blasted it home on the power play to tie the game. The Sabres would get a fabulous chance with just over a minute left as Zach Bogosian moved in on the breakaway, but Mike Smith stoned the backhand attempt and we remained tied.’

Atmosphere in the arena was disappointing

‘Pat Kaleta got right back into the swing of things in his first game back. He threw a solid body check right in front of Rob Ray down there and B.J. Crombeen took excpetion and gave Buffalo a power play. I get so tired of players having to answer for clean hits.’

Seven Days in Spring

‘In the next week the Sabres will play four games against teams that sit at the bottom of the standings. Buffalo will play two games against the Coyotes, one with the Avalanche, and one with the Leafs. It’s not crazy to think about Buffalo snagging eight points in this stretch, effectively pushing up the standings and moving out of the guaranteed “McEichel” spot. Let’s leave the tanking debate out of this, and just look at what this could mean for the NHL.’

Gagner, Coyotes defeat Sabres in overtime

‘”I felt good,” Hackett said. “I thought I battled pretty hard. (I’m) pretty sore. That one’s pretty frustrating.”‘

Sabres come away with point against Coyotes

‘“It was a back-and-forth thing. We battled back and it’s a tough loss,” Gionta said.’

Friday’s Rochester Coverage

Now in spoiler mode, Amerks are test-driving collegians (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)
Amerks sign Hart and Prapavessis to ATO contracts (Amerks.com)

Winning’s the only thing, say Sabres, Coyotes players

‘“Nobody wants to be in the position our two teams are in. Not one player,” Coyotes forward Shane Doan said. “You’re embarrassed. You have to be. Nobody ever wants to be considered the worst. Obviously, both teams are considered the two worst teams in the league. That’s not a good feeling.”’

Kaleta, set to return, deserves better than this

‘“You can’t really hide from it. You just focus on what you have to do,” Kaleta said after practice Wednesday. “I’m a guy that takes pride in how he plays. I don’t know what’s going to happen. You just feed off the crowd regardless.”

Hackett hurting but could go Thursday

‘“I always want to play but with the knee and where it’s at, I have to take my rest when I can and it’s just too difficult in this league to play back-to-back,” Hackett said. “I just keep icing it.”’