The Buffalo Sabres, fresh off a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens, will travel to Columbus, Ohio this evening to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets themsevles are coming off a 7-4 win at the hands of the St. Louis Blues, so both teams will be looking to continue their winning ways once the puck drops at 7 p.m. tonight. Let’s take a more in depth look:
The Blue Jackets have had an average start to the 2018/19 season so far, but they have been hampered by some weak goaltending. Starter Sergei Bobrovsky has looked very uneasy between the pipes, sporting a 2-4-0 record with a 3.87 GAA and a .872 SV%. He simply needs to be better in order for Columbus to compete with the lead dogs in the Metro division. Backup Joonas Korpisalo does have a 3-0-0 record, but some below average numbers; a 3.29 GAA and an .898 SV%.
Even with their goaltending struggles, they are still tied for third place in the Metro Division, with a record of 5-4-0. There’s no surprise that left winger Artemi Panarin leads the team in points, having scored three goals and nine assists, good for 12 points through 9 games. If he can keep that pace up, he’ll be in serious contention for the scoring title. Columbus has also received some stellar play from players like Cam Atkinson, Josh Anderson, and Zach Werenski.
The Sabres, however, will be looking to win their fourth straight after a come from behind victory Thursday night versus the Montreal Canadiens. Buffalo had to fight back most of the evening, and took advantage of their powerplay opportunities in the 4-3 win. The first line consisting of Jeff Skinner, Jack Eichel, and Jason Pominville have accrued 17 points over the winning streak, which is amazing production from a top line.
Defenceman Jake McCabe has also played some great hockey as of late, playing in all situations, while tallying five points through 10 games thus far. The Sabres have to be loving the production from the point this season, as it has been stagnant at best the past few years. Here’s hoping it will continue.
Buffalo will have to continue to capitalize on their chances and take advantage of a struggling goaltending tandem if they want to up their winning streak to four. Also, they will have to have some great defensive play to stop the dynamic first line of Columbus (Panarin – Dubois – Atkinson).
No announcement so far on Lines for this evening, although Phil Housley did announce Linus Ullmark will start in goal. (https://www.nhl.com/sabres/video/phil-housley-pregame-102718/t-277437090/c-62290303)
- Buffalo enters tonight’s contest with a three game winning streak on the line. Their last four game win streak came all the way back in December of 2014.
- Sabres forward Jason Pominville scored his 497th point in a Sabres uniform Thursday night v. Montreal, tying him with Thomas Vanek for 10th all-time.
- Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark will put his undefeated record on the line tonight. The Swedish puck stopper is 2-0-0 on the year, with a 0.50 GAA and a .982 SV%.
- Buffalo is 11-16-2 all-time versus the Columbus Blue Jackets, including losing three of the last 4. Buffalo did win the last meeting however, a 3-1 win in January of 2018.
- The Sabres will be looking for the same production out of their top line, as the trio of Eichel, Pominville and Skinner have combined for seven goals and ten assists in the past three games.
- The Sabres will return home on Tuesday night when the Calgary Flames come to Buffalo. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.