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FINAL: Blue Jackets open exhibition season with 4-1 win over Buffalo

Youngsters Bemstrom, Sherwood, Milano all score for Columbus

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

The cannon blasted and the Blue Jackets got back in action at Nationwide Arena, beating Buffalo by a 4-1 score in the 2019-20 season's first preseason game Tuesday night. 

Game in a Paragraph 

Columbus never trailed and turned in a solid effort, leading 1-0 after one and 2-1 after two before closing out the victory thanks to three goals from highly regarded prospects as well as an empty-netter from Zac Dalpe. 

CBJ Notables 

  • Rookie Emil Bemstrom tallied his first-ever goal in a Blue Jackets sweater in his first game, tallying on the power play in the first minute of the game. He later added an assist.  
  • Local product Kole Sherwood also got on the board, scoring what he said was his first-ever goal in Nationwide Arena in the second period.  
  • Goalie Joonas Korpisalo, bidding to be the CBJ starter this year, was sharp while making 12 saves in just short of 30 minutes of action.  
  • 2014 first-round pick Sonny Milano put the icing on the cake with a late goal. 

Quote of the Night

Head coach Mike Eaves on playing on a day that ended a difficult stretch of six days of work to being training camp: "The prescout by the coaches that have been here before is that the first period is usually pretty good. Then through the middle of the second, it starts to drop, but to the credit of the young men who were in the room tonight, the mind-set in the third period was we know what we've been through. The old acronym used to be KISS -- keep it simple, stupid. Now it's keep it simple, smart. They let the puck work for them and that helped their legs and their energy level."

Quick Recap 

It took just 52 seconds for the Blue Jackets to get on the board, and it came on the power play. Buffalo's C.J. Smith took a slashing penalty on the first shift, and on the man advantage, the Blue Jackets swung the puck around the top of the zone and Seth Jones fed Bemstrom for a one-timer from the left circle that made it 1-0 as the Swedish 20-year-old drove it by Linus Ullmark.  

On the other side of the rink, CBJ goalie Korpisalo didn't have much to do early on as the Blue Jackets didn't allow a shot on goal in the first 13-plus minutes. Finally the Sabres earned a power play, though, and Korpisalo had to be sharp with three saves, including an in-close deflection stop on Kle Olson.   

There wasn't much action to the opening 10 minutes of the second period, and the two starting goalies were swapped out at the 9:48 mark of the period. Korpisalo was replaecd by 23-year-old Latvian goalie Matiss Kivlenieks in net, while Buffalo put in Bowling Green alum Andrew Hammond in place of Ullmark. 

It didn't take long for both goalies to be beaten. Kivlenieks was victimized on the second shot he saw, though it appeared he never saw Jake McCabe's shot through traffic from the top of the slot at 13:43 of the period. 

But Columbus retook the lead just 1:05 later as Sherwood made it 2-1. The New Albany native entered the zone with Zach Werenski, took a drop pass from the defenseman and fired a shot from the top of the slot that ticked off Hammond's glove before going into the net behind him.  

The Blue Jackets then iced the game with 5:38 to play as Milano got on the board. A strong forecheck behind the net by Bemstrom allowed Riley Nash to fish the puck free, and his cross-crease feed found Milano at the right post for an easy stuff home.  

The Blue Jackets then got an empty-net goal from Dalpe, an Ohio State product, with 1:26 to play. 

Notable 

Fourteen of the 20 Blue Jackets in the lineup played at least one game for Columbus last season. The ones who did not were Bemstrom, Calvin Thurkauf, Sam Vigneault, Egor Sokolov, Andrew Peeke and Matiss Kivlenieks. … Kivlenieks made 16 saves on 17 shots faced. … Columbus was 1 for 3 on the power play while Buffalo was scoreless in three chances. ... Columbus had a 33-29 edge in shots on goal. 

Roster Report 

The Blue Jackets used the following lines for the game. 

Milano-Nash-Bemstrom 

Texier-Stenlund-Bjorkstrand 

Thurkauf-Dubinsky-Sherwood 

Dalpe-Vigneault-Sokolov 

Kukan-Jones 

Weresnki-Peeke 

Gavrikov-Clendening 

Up Next 

Columbus trips to Pittsburgh for its second preseason game on Thursday. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. 

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