The Blue Jackets close out their 10th anniversary season at Nationwide Arena tonight as they host the Buffalo Sabres.
Last night, Buffalo clinched a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a 4-3 overtime win over the Flyers, so their is little at stake as the two teams play their final regular season game.
I thought the Jackets played hard last night in Nashville, but could not beat Predators goaltender Pekke Rinne. Rinne stopped 44 of 45 shots with Derick Brassard the only Blue Jacket to find the back of the net. The 4-1 win enabled Nashville to clinch a postseason berth and have them sitting in fourth in the West heading into their final game of the regular season.
Following yesterday's morning skate Jackets coach Scott Arniel - looking ahead to tonight's game against the Sabres and his good friend Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff - said, "I expect a spirited game between both teams, there will be a big crowd on hand and we want to put our best foot forward." He added, "We want to end the season on a good note! Yes, there has been lots of disappointment but good things did happen."
The Blue Jackets are 3-0-1 against Buffalo at home and sport an overall record against the Sabres of 7-3-1.
Arniel was a former assistant coach with Ruff and the Sabres and says, "Lindy always has them playing hard. They are a quick team with lots of skill and have good goaltending with Ryan Miller."
Miller incidentally has missed most of Buffalo's last few games with an upper body injury, but with the playoffs starting Wednesday, I would suspect he will likely play tonight just to get some work in before the postseason begins, providing he is healthy enough to go. Miller did come on and play the last period and the overtime vs. Philadelphia last night stopping all eight shots he faced.
The Blue Jackets, I would think, will again go with Steve Mason. That is only if he came out of last night's game in Nashville without a recurrence of his lower body injury that saw him sit out three games.
Tonight is Fan Appreciation Night, the game is in HD on FOX Sports Ohio and begins with Blue Jackets Live and Ray Crawford at 6:30 p.m.
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blog - Rimer's Game Day Ramblings. The Columbus Blue Jackets' television play-by-play man will try to keep you updated on all the season action through his blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.