Scrappy Sabres earn Bylsma’s praise (and so does Ullmark)

AP
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A season after “tanking,” the Buffalo Sabres are soldering on.

They’re not just stacking up moral victories in Dan Bylsma’s first season in Buffalo, either. By beating the John Tavares-less New York Islanders 2-1 on Sunday, they’ve now won two in a row and three of their last four.

(They also played some excellent hockey in that loss, firing 53 shots against Bylsma’s former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.)

Those efforts haven’t slipped by Bylsma, who praised his team for being feisty and his current goalie – Linus Ullmark – for being calm.

The Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington believes that Ullmark is seizing an opportunity with Robin Lehner on the shelf.

For the Islanders, it’s a tough weekend – just a single standings point in losses to the Sabres and New Jersey Devils, teams that at least came into this season with low expectations – and a reminder of just how important Tavares can be.

Then again, the way Buffalo’s been playing, maybe the outcome would have been the same anyway.