SABRES 5 | BLUE JACKETS 2
Knowing the Blue Jackets
and the high expectations they have set for themselves, they will not be pleased with how their eight-game winning streak ended tonight at Nationwide Arena
FINAL: SABRES 5 | BLUE JACKETS 2
It was a muddy, plodding game right from the start, with the Buffalo Sabres content to drop back into a 1-2-2 or 1-3-1 forecheck and frustrate the Blue Jackets, which played a big role in getting them off their game.
Columbus' forecheck - usually its bread and butter - was a step behind all night and they were caught reaching for pucks rather than playing on their toes.
That played right into the Sabres' hands. Buffalo scored an early goal at 2:21 of the first period on a fluky backhander through traffic from the stick of Matt Ellis, and after Derek MacKenzie evened the score midway through the opening frame, the Sabres got the lead right back on yet another mysterious goal.
With the Blue Jackets on a late-period power play, they got careless with the puck and threw it up ice but not out of their own zone. Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff was waiting at the left point, and he ripped a knuckler from 60 feet that eluded Sergei Bobrovsky and gave Buffalo a 2-1 edge with under 30 seconds left in the period.
The Sabres stretched to a two-goal lead at 3:28 of the second - another shorthanded goal - on a harmless-looking wrister from Marcus Foligno. That was the end of the night for Bobrovsky, who wasn't as sharp as he's been of late but also didn't get a lot of help in front. The Blue Jackets were uncharacteristically messy with the puck and it did them no favors.
Columbus got as close as 4-2 early in the third period but the Sabres put the clamps on the rest of the way. Ryan Miller, making his third start of the season against the Jackets, made 36 saves to spearhead the Buffalo victory.
Foligno's goal was large for the Sabres, who spent the first few shifts of the second period pinned in their own zone. The Blue Jackets, on the power play, had a chance to draw level but they instead yielded their second shorthanded goal.
1. RYAN MILLER (BUF)
Very early on, this felt like a big night in the making for the Sabres' goaltender. He was excellent in the first, strong in the second and sturdy in the third as the Blue Jackets attempted 92 shots and got 38 through to Miller's net.
2. CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF (BUF)
The shorthanded goal late in the first was deflating for the Blue Jackets and Ehrhoff also set up the Sabres' third and fourth goals.
3. DEREK MACKENZIE (CBJ)
A goal and an assist tonight for MacKenzie as the fourth line drove the bus for the Blue Jackets. Solid performance.
AT CAROLINA HURRICANES
MONDAY, 7 P.M.