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Sabres at Blue Jackets preview

Buffalo eyes three-game winning streak; Columbus hopes to avoid third consecutive loss

by Craig Merz / Correspondent

SABRES (3-5-2) at BLUE JACKETS (5-3-0)

8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV


The Game

The Buffalo Sabres try for their first three-game winning streak since Feb. 14-18 when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Wednesday.

The Sabres, who defeated the Detroit Red Wings 1-0 on Tuesday, have won back-to-back games after a 1-5-2 start, and are 2-0-1 in their past three road games.

The Blue Jackets have lost two straight to begin a four-game homestand. This will be the first game without fourth-line center Lukas Sedlak since he injured his ankle during practice Monday. He will be out six weeks. Zac Dalpe may move from wing to center.


Players to watch

Sabres forward Jason Pominville has nine points (three goals, six assists) in his past eight games. He has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 10 games this season; he had 47 points (13 goals, 34 assists) in 78 games last season.

Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin leads Columbus in scoring with nine points (one goal, eight assists), including six points (one goal, five assists) in his past five games. He had 31 goals in 82 games for the Chicago Blackhawks last season.


They said it

"We know Columbus is waiting for us now. They've lost two in a row. They haven't played since Saturday so I'm sure they're going to be ready." -- Sabres coach Phil Housley

"We don't want him to hold back, even though a mistake may have been made in an odd-man rush. We want him to go. So I don't even call him a defenseman anymore." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella, describing the role of defenseman Zach Werenski as a "rover"


Sabres projected lineup

Evander Kane -- Jack Eichel -- Kyle Okposo

Benoit Pouliot -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Jason Pominville

Jordan Nolan - Sam Reinhart -- Justin Bailey

Matt Moulson -- Johan Larsson -- Seth Griffith

Marco Scandella -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe -- Taylor Fedun

Victor Antipin -- Matt Tennyson

Chad Johnson

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Zach Redmond

Injured: Nathan Beaulieu (upper body), Zemgus Girgensons (lower body), Josh Gorges (lower body), Jacob Josefson (lower body), Zach Bogosian (lower body), Evan Rodrigues (hand), Justin Falk (undisclosed)


Blue Jackets projected lineup

Artemi Panarin -- Nick Foligno -- Cam Atkinson

Boone Jenner -- Alexander Wennberg -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Josh Anderson

Matt Calvert -- Zac Dalpe -- Sonny Milano

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Jack Johnson -- David Savard

Ryan Murray -- Markus Nutivaara

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Markus Hannikainen, Scott Harrington

Injured: Gabriel Carlsson (upper body), Lukas Sedlak (ankle)


Status report

Johnson may start after Lehner made 32 saves against the Red Wings. … Hannikainen was recalled from Cleveland of the American Hockey League but is not expected to play.


Stat pack

Kane has nine points (five goals, four assists) in his past eight games against the Blue Jackets. Eichel has six points (two goals, four assists) in six games against the Blue Jackets. … The Blue Jackets are last in the NHL in faceoff winning percentage at 43.2 and 29th on the power play at 9.1 percent (2 of 22).

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