Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

March 31, 2012

Hodgson finding comfort with new city, Sabres

(Continued)

BUFFALO —

“I’ve only been in the city a few days with all the travel,” said Hodgson, who’s living in a hotel.

Hodgson had two assists Match 19 in Tampa Bay, his first points with Buffalo. He followed with a two-goal effort two nights later against Montreal.

“I don’t want to say a lot’s changed, but it’s going better right now,” Hodgson said. “I really like playing with the guys. We’re getting a lot of chances.”

While the slick trio of Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno and Drew Stafford has been garnering most of the attention, Hodgson’s line has quietly been effective.

Vanek, who slowed down during the winter, had two goals and six points in the last five games entering Friday.

Tropp, whose supreme work battling and grabbing loose pucks creates offense, has possibly established himself as a regular NHL player.

“It just seems to be some chemistry,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “It seems Corey on the left side has been the worker there, had done a great job down low, has made some nice plays.

“I think Cody’s skating. He seems refreshed finally. He’s been able to hit holes and make good plays.

“You’ve got Thomas on that side is now starting to capitalize on some of the opportunities. Realistically, Thomas probably could’ve had four or five the last couple games but only has two.”

Hodgson added: “Everyone knows about Thomas Vanek. He’s one of the best players in the league for a long time. Corey works so hard, I really think he makes our line work. He’s getting every loose puck. He wins every battle and allows us to play a lot more time in the offensive zone.”

Tropp knew Hodgson, who has 19 goals and 40 points in 79 games – third and fifth among rookies – would bust his slump, which started in Vancouver.

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