GAME 67: BLUE JACKETS VS. SABRES
KEY BANK CENTER, 7:00 P.M.
TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO / FOX SPORTS GO
RADIO: 97.1 & BLUEJACKETS.COM
When the puck drops in Buffalo on Saturday, the Jackets may feel like they've seen their opponent before, because they have. Less than 24 hours ago.
In the second of two home-and-home series the Jackets have this week, the team is headed to the Key Bank Center where they will have to defend against a Sabres team sure to want to avenge the 4-3 loss they suffered at the hands of the Jackets Friday night.
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"We haven't played them all year and then to play them back to back I'm sure tomorrow nights game is going to pick up right where this one left off," Boone Jenner said. "That's usually how it goes."
The Jackets will be looking to re-establish their five-on-five play after relying more than usual on their power play the night before. Two of their four goals came on the man advantage.
The Sabres (27-29-12) will be looking to avoid their fourth regulation loss in a row.
Here are five things to watch for:
Five on five play.
There were many ways the Jackets players described their play at even strength on Friday, and all of them meant the team had room for improvement. Nick Foligno said the team got caught with lulls they haven't experienced in some time. John Tortorella called the play inconsistent. The Jackets will want to come out strong and show their potency at even strength.
Keep the power play units going.
The Jackets power play converted two of the three opportunities they had on Friday and was cited as a source not just of goals, but also of momentum. This team will want to focus on keeping their recent success going. "We've had some good looks with it lately, we've just been a little snake bitten around the net, I thought both units looked good tonight," Tortorella said.
Video: BUF@CBJ: Foligno redirects Wennberg's feed for PPG
Going going Gagner.
Sam Gagner had a power play goal on Friday putting him just one goal short of his career high set in 2011-12 when he was with Edmonton. He now has three goals and two assists in his last four games, and seems to be reinvigorated by his move back to his natural position at center. "Even when he wasn't scoring in the last couple weeks you could see his game coming back," Tortorella said.
Video: BUF@CBJ: Gagner drills a slapper past Lehner for PPG
While the Jackets may not think they played their best game Friday night, they are maintaining their "one game at a time" approach. If anything, Tortorella wants to see his team use Friday's win as a lesson in what this team can do even when not at their highest level of play. "We're not going to dissect it too much, we know we need to be better," Tortorella said. "To me I'm going to look at it this way. You still find a way to win a game when I think the players know they weren't that good."
After the Mar. 5 game in New Jersey, John Tortorella hinted that he will make more use of both of his goaltenders in back-to-back situations. With this series marking the 15th of 19 back-to-backs, and the demands of the post season looming, is it possible we'll see Joonas Korpisalo, who is 5-2-0 with a .915 SV% with the Jackets, start Saturday?
PROJECTED CBJ LINEUP:
Jenner - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Foligno - Wennberg - Saad
Hartnell - Gagner - Bjorkstrand
Korpikoski - Karlsson - Tynan
Werenski - Jones
Johnson - Savard
Quincey - Nutivaara