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Blue Jackets at Sabres preview

Olofsson, Okposo return for Buffalo; Columbus seeks 10th win in 13 games

by Heather Engel / Independent Correspondent

BLUE JACKETS (30-17-10) at SABRES (25-24-8)

7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, FS-O, NHL.TV


The Game

Forwards Victor Olofsson and Kyle Okposo will each return to the lineup when the Buffalo Sabres play the Columbus Blue Jackets at KeyBank Center on Thursday.

Olofsson, who missed 15 games since sustaining a lower-body injury against the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 2, is third on the Sabres in goals (16) and points (35) and is tied for second and third, respectively among NHL rookies.

Okposo, who missed six games since sustaining an upper-body injury Jan. 30, has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 40 games this season.

The Blue Jackets, who begin a stretch of eight games in 13 days, are 9-1-2 in their past 12 games, outscoring opponents 30-15 with five shutouts, and have allowed two goals or fewer in 10 of their past 12 games.


Players to watch

Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand has 14 points (11 goals, three assists) in his past 12 games.

Sabres forward Sam Reinhart has 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in his past 16 games.


They said it

"We're creating a lot of chances. We're doing the right things out there. It's just a matter of when we have a chance, we've got to bury it. The chances are there, we just need to make sure we bear down and put the pucks in the net when we get them." -- Blue Jackets forward Gustav Nyquist

"I didn't really know what to expect. I haven't really been through one of these things before so I just tried to be really patient. [It's been] six weeks so that's kind of where we thought it would be. It's been a good progress." -- Sabres forward Victor Olofsson


Blue Jackets projected lineup

Nick Foligno -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Liam Foudy -- Boone Jenner -- Gustav Nyquist

Sonny Milano -- Kevin Stenlund -- Emil Bemstrom

Eric Robinson -- Riley Nash -- Nathan Gerbe

Zach Werenski -- Markus Nutivaara

Vladislav Gavrikov -- David Savard 

Scott Harrington -- Andrew Peeke

Matiss Kivlenieks

Elvis Merzlikins

Scratched: Gabriel Carlsson

Injured: Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Josh Anderson (shoulder), Ryan Murray (lower body), Alexandre Texier (back), Dean Kukan (knee), Alexander Wennberg (upper body), Joonas Korpisalo (knee), Seth Jones (ankle), Cam Atkinson (lower body)

Sabres projected lineup

Victor Olofsson -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner -- Evan Rodrigues -- Michael Frolik

Jimmy Vesey -- Curtis Lazar -- Conor Sheary

Zemgus Girgensons -- Johan Larsson -- Kyle Okposo

Brandon Montour -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin -- Colin Miller

Jake McCabe -- Henri Jokiharju

Carter Hutton

Jonas Johansson

Scratched: Zach Bogosian, Lawrence Pilut, Scott Wilson

Injured: Marcus Johansson (upper body), Linus Ullmark (lower body), Tage Thompson (upper body), Vladimir Sobotka (lower body)


Status report

Johansson, a forward, is day to day. … The Blue Jackets did not hold a morning skate. … Savard did not travel with the team but is expected to play after the birth of his third child Tuesday.


Stat pack

Eichel has four assists in a three-game point streak and needs three assists to reach 200 in the NHL. … Nyquist is two assists from 200 in the NHL. 

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