Skip to Main Content
game recap

Blue Jackets defeat Sabres rookies

Columbus handles Buffalo, which had three players make NHL debut @NHLdotcom

Nick Foligno and Dalton Prout scored 2:09 apart late in the second period, and the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 at First Niagara Center on Friday.

Foligno beat rookie goaltender Jason Kasdorf from the left circle at 15:16 to break a 1-1 tie. Prout made it 3-1 at 17:25, beating Kasdorf from the top of the left circle.

Matt Calvert and Brandon Saad scored, and Joonas Korpisalo made 34 saves for the Blue Jackets (33-40-8). Saad reached 30 goals for the first time in his four-season NHL career. He and Boone Jenner each has 30; it's the first time the Blue Jackets have had two 30-goal scorers.

"I didn't know. Actually someone came and told me after it happened, and it's exciting," Saad told the Blue Jackets website. "I know when Boone got it, it's an exciting moment for him, and to get that and then create the history here for the franchise, it's definitely something I'll remember forever."

Video: CBJ@BUF: Saad finishes Wennberg's feed for 30th goal

Korpisalo, a rookie, earned his 16th victory in 31 games.

"One of my objectives for this game was to just enjoy it and get the win and play good," he said. "That was a great game from the team today."

Sam Reinhart scored a power-play goal for Buffalo (34-36-11), which had won three in a row. Kasdorf made 26 saves in his NHL debut; he was signed last month after playing four seasons at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

"I felt pretty good out there, but I need to be better," Kasdorf told the Sabres website. "There were a couple of shots I normally have. I just need to be a little quicker."

Video: CBJ@BUF: Calvert snipes PPG to provide lead

The Blue Jackets capitalized on their second power play to take a 1-0 lead at 18:45 of the first period. With Buffalo forward Nicolas Deslauriers off for boarding, Calvert took a pass from Brandon Dubinsky and beat Kasdorf from below the left faceoff dot with a wrist shot that went into the net off the far post.

Columbus gave the Sabres four power plays in the first 12:45 of the second period, and Buffalo scored on the fourth to tie the game 1-1.

The Sabres were unable to score during a 5-on-3 advantage that lasted 51 seconds, but one second after Saad returned to make it 5-on-4, Reinhart got his 23rd of the season at 13:37 when he deflected Jack Eichel's shot from the right point under the crossbar.

Columbus went ahead 2-1 when Foligno beat Kasdorf from the left circle after a turnover in the Buffalo zone. Foligno has 12 goals, down from 31 last season.

Video: CBJ@BUF: Jenner lays out, finds Folingo for the score

Prout, a defenseman, made it 3-1 when he came late on an odd-man rush, took a pass from William Karlsson and beat Kasdorf with a high wrist shot.

"We gave them some opportunities; especially, the second and third ones were golden opportunities that [Kasdorf] wasn't able to stop," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "I thought in the first period, with the first [14] shots he faced, I don't know if he was ever able to get comfortable in net."

Saad became a 30-goal scorer at 5:11 of the third period when he was left alone in the slot and one-timed Alexander Wennberg's pass out behind Kasdorf.

"He's a dangerous guy," coach John Tortorella said of Saad. "He's a big part of our future. He's a huge part of our team and, although we're done after tomorrow, it's nice for those guys to have those types of milestones, and we expect more of it when we get going next year."

Video: CBJ@BUF: Prout snipes puck home to finish rush

Forwards Evan Rodrigues and Cole Schneider also made their NHL debut for the Sabres. Rodrigues was a linemate of Eichel's at Boston University last season, when Eichel won the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in college hockey.

"I thought they both looked pretty good," Bylsma said. "Cole looked comfortable with the pace and making plays and made a couple of good ones, had a couple good opportunities around the net. … [Rodrigues] had some great opportunities in the third."

Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian left in the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return.

Each team ends its season Saturday. Buffalo plays at the New York Islanders, and Columbus hosts the Chicago Blackhawks.

"There are still a lot of things we could've done better tonight and we're disappointed," Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly said. "That's not the way we wanted to go out in this building. We have a chance tomorrow to bounce back and end the season on the right note."

Video: Foligno, Saad lead Blue Jackets to win against Sabres

View More