BLUE JACKETS 2 | SABRES 4
Matt Calvert Post Game
Nick Foligno Post Game
Todd Richards Post GameANALYSIS:
A better period for the Blue Jackets aside from some careless penalty trouble that cost them a goal, but it's still a two-goal deficit with 20 minutes left to play. They have dominated at even strength, with nearly 65 percent of shot attempts at even strength (42-23) and were particularly strong late in the second period. They had some grade-A chances, including Nick Foligno from the slot and a Scott Hartnell deflection in front of the net, but Neuvirth has made 27 saves for Buffalo. Matt Calvert (on a great pass from Dubinsky) and Kevin Connauton (delayed penalty) have the goals for the Blue Jackets, who have one period left to make up the two-spot they gave the Sabres early in the first period.
Matt Calvert Goal
Kevin Connauton Goal
Second Period Highlights
ANALYSIS: This first period was eerily reminiscent of one that happened last week in Philadelphia, where the Flyers were coming off a long road trip and had heavy legs in the first period. That's certainly the case so far tonight, as the Blue Jackets stumbled their way through the opening period and trail the Buffalo Sabres 2-0. It was an adventurous period for Anton Forsberg, as well, giving up two questionable goals on two plays that he'd like to have back. The first was a weak backhander from Cody Hodgson on left wing, a shot that fooled Forsberg and snuck through his arm and into the net. The second was an in-between puck play for Forsberg, as he came way out of the net to disrupt a break for Buffalo, but fell down on the way back and it was a wide open net for Zemgus Girgensons. Shots are 13-9 favoring Columbus but they have yet to sustain any threatening offensive zone pressure in the Buffalo zone.
First Period Highlights
Marko Dano Pregame
Cody Goloubef Pregame
Todd Richards Pregame
UPDATE (11:20 AM): Todd Richards confirmed after the morning skate that James Wisniewski will be in the lineup tonight. Curtis McElhinney will be the back-up despite missing the team skate. McElhinney had some time to work with goaltending coach Ian Clark one-on-one while Sergei Bobrovsky was able to see more pucks at practice.
- Richards said that Brandon Dubinsky was ill this morning and returned home, but at this point he is expected to be in the lineup tonight. Jack Skille will not play tonight, with Richards calling him "banged up" and expecting him to be day-to-day.
- The line of Nick Foligno, Artem Anisimov, and Marko Dano drove the Jackets' come-back effort against the Rangers on Sunday. "Marko's an energetic guy who plays the walls really well and has a lot of jump, and when (Anisimov) is controlling the puck he's real good," said Foligno. "And he's had the puck on his stick a lot and allowed us to make plays."
- The Sabres are at the bottom of the league standings, but they've managed three wins over the Canadiens, as well as victories over the Islanders and Lightning. They took Nashville to a shoot-out on Sunday.
"They're a young team and they're going to work," said David Savard. "Sometimes you can be on the other side of tight games and your record doesn't show what kind of team you are. I think they have good players on that team and they're going to come out and do their thing. And if you take this team lightly they're going to make you pay."
UPDATE (10:15 AM): The Blue Jackets did not take part in traditional line rushes during the morning skate, but did do shooting drills and power play work. James Wisniewski, a healthy scratch Sunday in New York, was on the ice and was featured in power play drills. He also took reps with Kevin Connauton during shooting drills.
- Sergei Bobrovsky was on the ice for the Jackets taking full part in shooting drill as he works his way back towards a return. Curtis McElhinney was not on the ice for the morning skate, and Anton Forsberg was in the home net. It appears Forsberg will start tonight in search of his first NHL win.
- Jack Skille and Brandon Dubinsky were both missing from the morning skate. Updates on their status for tonight will come after Todd Richards' press conference. Dalton Prout was also absent from the morning skate. He has been out with an injury since Feb. 8th.
What is THIS?! We're back in Columbus!
We've missed you, friends. It's good to be home and we're looking to forward to spending a little time here at Nationwide Arena over the next couple weeks. Starting with tonight's game against the Buffalo Sabres, the Blue Jackets will play five of their next seven games on home ice -- including three straight this week against Buffalo, Montreal and New Jersey.
Columbus is coming off a disappointing 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday night, a game in which the visitors rallied from a 3-0 second period deficit and withstood a Rangers power play in overtime to get to the breakaways. Cam Talbot stopped two of three Jackets attempts to preserve the extra point for New York.
Monday was a complete day off for the team and they'll reconvene at 10 a.m. today for their morning skate. Here are a few brief updates:
- Sergei Bobrovsky practiced with the team during their four-game trip and took part in the morning skates in Pittsburgh and Montreal. He has not yet been activated off injured reserve, but the team is hoping he can return to action sometime this week.
- Curtis McElhinney played well yet again for Columbus, making 37 saves to give his team a chance -- just as he's done for the past month. McElhinney is 5-2-1 in Bobrovsky's absence and has been one of the NHL's best goalies during that span.
- We'll wait and see whether James Wisniewski, a healthy scratch Sunday in New York, will return to the lineup tonight. Richards would only say "we want him to be better" when asked about the decision to keep Wisniewski out of the lineup.
- It was quite the performance on Sunday for the Dano-Anisimov-Foligno line; Dano and Anisimov scored goals, Foligno racked up two assists, but their possession numbers were also impressive. Anisimov was +13 in shot attempts at even strength (22-9), Dano was +12 (19-7) and Foligno was +11 (21-10).