FINAL: SABRES 3 | BLUE JACKETS 1
W: HACKETT | L: BOBROVSKY
One could sum this game up rather easily: it simply took the Blue Jackets too long to get themselves going tonight.
SABRES 3 | BLUE JACKETS 1
The Buffalo Sabres got out to a great start, dominating puck possession and using their speed to draw penalties against a Columbus squad that was a bit slow-going. Making his first start of the exhibition season, Sergei Bobrovsky had to make a few early saves to keep it a scoreless game - a line that held until the closing seconds of the opening period.
Just after a Blue Jackets penalty to Fedor Tyutin had expired, Tyler Myers made a pin-point slap pass to Marcus Foligno in the slot, and the re-direction beat Bobrovsky for a 1-0 Buffalo lead with 4.5 seconds left in the frame. Columbus answered back early in the second, though, on a netmouth scramble that resulted in RJ Umberger's first goal of the preseason. But from that point on, the Sabres managed to keep the Blue Jackets out of their net.
Marcus Foligno scored his second goal of the night with 5:09 to go in the second period, and it was a beauty. He drove hard to the net, lowered his shoulder and went airborne as he tucked it home behind Bobrovsky. Mikhail Grigorenko increased the Buffalo lead to 3-1 by finishing a quick jam play from the behind the net, which had the Blue Jackets swimming upstream with 10 minutes to play.
Columbus was unable to capitalize on its power play opportunities in the final 40 minutes and couldn't get any sustained attack at even strength. Ryan Miller, who started in goal for the Sabres, exited the game midway through the second period and gave way to Matt Hackett, who kept a clean sheet the rest of the night.
Hackett, acquired at the trade deadline last season in a deal that sent Jason Pominville to Minnesota, made nine saves and picked up the victory for Buffalo.
1. MARCUS FOLIGNO (BUF)
His second goal of the night was the highlight, but the 22-year-old brother of Columbus forward Nick played a strong all-around game tonight. Sabres coach Ron Rolston entrusted him with 20:41 of ice time in all situations and with one of Buffalo's top two lines, giving him every opportunity to make a difference in the game. He certainly did that tonight.
2. RJ UMBERGER (CBJ)
Not only did his goal even things up in the second period, but he played a physical game tonight on a line with Boone Jenner and Josh Anderson. Umberger played over 18 minutes in tonight's game, including over three minutes of power-play time.
3. BOONE JENNER (CBJ)
Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards really liked Jenner's game and for good reason: he was physical, aggressive and did not wait for the game to come to him. He showed a willingness to play in the tough areas of the ice and was strong along the wall, logging 20:38 of ice time and registering a game-high six shots on goal.
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