The Sabres Report - March 22, 2017

Mike Harrington: Crosby makes major entry to highlight reel   

Buffalo News:

‘A one-handed backhand to the top corner? Flying down the middle of the ice at full speed? Who does that?’

Sabres Notebook: Ruhwedel finds fit in Pittsburgh   

Buffalo News:

‘“You’ve got to find the right fit. You’ve got to look at depth charts, all the players in the organization, see where you stack up. It’s an interesting game you play. Once Pittsburgh did come around and reach out to us, it wasn’t too difficult of a decision to choose them. Like I said, they have a very good history with a lot of talented players on this team.”’

Quick hits: Penguins 3, Sabres 1   

Buffalo News:

‘Buffalo failed to connect on its only power-play chance in KeyBank Center. The Sabres lost for the first time in three games, while Pittsburgh moved to 8-1-1 in the last 10.’

Rasmus Ristolainen ejected in Sabres’ loss to Penguins   

Olean Times Herald:

‘“I don’t like the fact he got ejected,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. “It’s an unfortunate play. He’s stepping up … and the puck that is coming to Guentzel is stopped by Zemgus. Guentzel’s unsuspecting at that point in time. Rasmus is committed to the hit.”’

Sabres’ Brady Austin impressive in first NHL action   

Olean Times Herald:

‘“He’s not a highly heralded guy,” Bylsma said. “He doesn’t have highly heralded skill. He doesn’t have the flash of (top prospect) Brendan Guhle or that type of pedigree. He’s a big-bodied guy. He’s got to play a physical style. That’s what he’s got to be for him to have an opportunity in this league.”’

Former Sabre Chad Ruhwedel fitting in with Penguins   

Olean Times Herald:

‘Ruhwedel, who barely got a sniff from the Sabres, has become an NHL regular. After starting the season with Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, injuries created an opportunity.’

Two Pittsburgh goals late in third sink Sabres, 3-1   

Batavia Daily News:

‘The tie held until the final five minutes of the game, as Bonino fired a shot from the top of the circle to Lehner’s left which found the back of the net through traffic for the game-winning goal and then Zemgus Girgensons notched an own goal.’

Wednesday's Pittsburgh Coverage   

SabreSpace.com:

Crosby’s dazzling goal highlights playoff-clinching Penguins victory (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
Errant stick chips Sidney Crosby’s tooth in Buffalo (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
Penguins edge Sabres, keep heat on for Metro lead (Pittsburgh Tribune Review)
Penguins notebook: Defenseman Corrado makes debut (Pittsburgh Tribune Review)
Snap Shots: Pens 3, Sabres 1 (PittsburghPenguins.com)
Photo gallery (NHL.com)
Photo gallery (Buffalo News)

Crosby loses teeth, Penguins clinch playoff berth vs Sabres   

AP:

‘Bonino scored the go-ahead goal on a broken play with 5:29 remaining and Conor Sheary scored 1:58 later. Matt Murray stopped 29 shots and the Penguins (46-17-9) improved to 8-1-1 in their past 10.’

Crosby helps Penguins nail down playoff spot   

The Sports Xchange:

‘”I truly believe the bounces go your way especially in the third period if you’ve been putting the effort in in the first two,” Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges said. “By the end, we were a little bit slower.”‘

‘Disconnect’ with players has Dan Bylsma’s future with Sabres in doubt   

Sportsnet:

‘“The number of times we have been told by players — on the record, after games — ‘Well, things changed because we just went out and played. We stopped thinking and worrying where we were supposed to be on the ice.’ That’s an indictment of the way Dan Bylsma has them playing. They want to go play free.”’

Sabres GM says Dmitry Kulikov acquisition ‘didn’t work out’   

Sportsnet:

‘In just 39 games this season, Kulikov has one goal, two points, is a minus-17 player and averages 21:31 of ice time. But it hasn’t really been a season to blame on decline, because the 26-year-old has been battling a back injury since being checked into an open bench door in the pre-season. Kulikov has missed significant time and had his play negatively affected by the nagging injury.’

Sabres fall to Penguins 3-1   

WGR-AM:

‘The Sabres are a defenseman down, and it is their best one as Rasmus Ristloainen is ejected from the game. He lined up Jake Guentzel for a hit and the forward was laid out by Ristolainen. The referees seem to overreact to the injury that Guentzel siffered and issue a five minute major penalty and a game misconduct to the Buffalo defenseman. I can see a minor for interference as the puck was gone by the time the hit was levelled, but a major and a game misconduct is egregious.’

Murray: "We recognize where we have to get better"   

WGR-AM:

‘Murray still has a job to do with the season nearing its end. “Well, I think we all get judged every game through the season,” Murray said. “I’ll be evaluated by ownership at the end of the year and the players and coaches will be evaluated by me at the end of the year. I think the season has to run its course, at the end of your season you have a sit down with your players. I’ll have a meeting with all of our players and get their feedback, I’ll have a meeting with the coaches and get their feedback. So, you’re judging every night, you’re evaluating every night.”‘

Bylsma: Eichel's two-way development has been a process   

WGR-AM:

‘”Jack’s been an 18 and 19 year old in the league. He’s in development and [is working] on his game, and that’s been a process,” said Bylsma with Howard Simon and Jeremy White on Tuesday morning on WGR. “His defensive play, his responsibilities on both sides of the puck and his responsibilities on faceoffs is significantly [better] than he was a year and a half ago. That’s been a process.”‘