Blue Jackets-Sabres Preview
GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (24-42-8-4) at Buffalo Sabres (35-32-7-4).
TIME: Monday, 7 p.m. EST.
The Buffalo Sabres need to pick up some wins in a hurry as they pursue the
final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Sabres hope to earn two points as they continue their postseason push
against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Buffalo squandered a two-goal lead in a 2-2 tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins
The Sabres are five points behind the eighth-place New York Islanders, who
lost at home to Carolina on Saturday. Both teams have four games remaining.
"It's tough to not get the two points," Sabres forward Mike Grier said.
"Now we're pretty much going to have to win them all and still get at least
another two losses from the Islanders. We had some chances."
Chris Drury and J.P. Dumont scored for the Sabres, 7-2-1-3 in their last 13
games. Martin Biron made 37 saves for the Sabres, including five in overtime
when the Penguins enjoyed a power play.
"I think we have to find ways to win games," said Buffalo coach Lindy
Ruff. "We didn't make enough plays to win the game. We had opportunities."
The Sabres hope to convert their opportunities Monday against a Blue Jackets
team that has won four in a row.
Columbus has been reduced to the role of spoiler, and the Blue Jackets
certainly did their best to hurt the Nashville Predators' push for their
first-ever playoff berth.
Tyler Wright scored 2:03 into overtime, and the Blue Jackets beat Nashville
3-2 Saturday night for their fourth straight victory.
Rick Nash scored his NHL-leading 40th goal this season and had an assist in
helping Columbus win for only the seventh time away from home.
"Every night is a playoff game for those guys, and we want to come in and
we show a lot of pride," Columbus coach Gerard Gallant said. "We said we
don't want to give anybody free points."
STANDINGS: Blue Jackets - 60 points, 4th place, 43 PB, Central Division.
Sabres - 81 points, 5th place, 18 PB, Northeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Blue Jackets - Nash, 40 goals and 55 points; David Vyborny, 31
assists; Jody Shelley, 228 PIM. Sabres - Miroslav Satan, 29 goals; Daniel
Briere, 35 assists and 61 points; Andrew Peters, 136 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 27): Blue Jackets - Power play: 14.7 percent
(56 for 382), 24th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.9 percent (276 for 325), 7th
(tied). Sabres - Power play: 16.3 percent (58 for 356), 14th in NHL. Penalty
killing: 84.5 percent (283 for 335), 13th.
GOALTENDERS: Blue Jackets - Marc Denis (20-34-7, 5 SO, 2.57 GAA); Fred
Brathwaite (4-10-1, 0, 3.21). Sabres - Martin Biron (24-17-5, 1, 2.60); Mika
Noronen (11-16-2, 2, 2.45).
2002-03 SEASON SERIES: tied, 1-1.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 22, 2002; Sabres, 5-4. At Buffalo, Taylor Pyatt had two
goals to lead the Sabres over the Blue Jackets. Satan, James Patrick and Vaclav
Varada also scored for Buffalo.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jackets - 7-26-4-2 on the road; Sabres - 20-12-4-3