The Buffalo Sabres will hope to cool down the surging Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.
The Blue Jackets come into Buffalo after defeating the Washington Capitals 5-1 at home Friday night. Columbus has won its past five games and is 6-1-0 during the month of January.
Buffalo has gotten some positive results on home ice as of late and will look to keep that going against the Blue Jackets at 7 p.m. They’re 6-1-2 in their past eight games at First Niagara Center.
“It’s one of those things where we have to realize this is our building and we have a good club here,” Sabres center Zenon Konopka said after the team's optional morning skate. “It’s about us, not about the opponents coming in here. We have to expect to win every night here in our building and not hope, but expect. It should be a real good game tonight.”
Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno has been having a career year so far. He’s scored and 12 goals and recorded 14 assists in 41 games. His play has impressed his younger brother, the Sabres’ Marcus Foligno.
“He’s improved a lot and this year, the points have come for him and the way he’s played every game, he’s been consistent and he’s been pretty gritty,” Marcus Foligno said. “He’s got a couple fights and he’s putting up good numbers. He’s a guy that does it all and when he’s having a great night, he’s really noticeable and he’s a good player.”
“For myself, I want to relate to that. You want to learn off him. He’s the older brother so you want to take after him sometimes. Not all the time, though. It comes with who we are the background that we have.”
Foligno missed Buffalo’s last game with an injury, but will be ready to go against Columbus.
Wing Linus Omark and defenseman Alexander Sulzer will be the team’s healthy scratches.
John Scott will once again be in for Omark again on the team’s fourth line. With Omark being a more offensive-minded player, Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said Omark will likely have to wait for a spot on the top three lines to open up before he can return to the lineup.
“We just played well last game so we’ll keep the same lineup. There’s not much he can do. He’s just got to continue to work and be patient,” Nolan said.
Ryan Miller is expected to start in goal for Buffalo.
The game will also be Tyler Myers’ 300th in the NHL. He returned from a three-game suspension on Wednesday and recorded an assist in 26:02 of ice time, his second-highest total ice time of the season.
26 Matt Moulson – 63 Tyler Ennis – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 23 Ville Leino
82 Marcus Foligno – 65 Brian Flynn – 28 Zemgus Girgensons
32 John Scott – 24 Zenon Konopka – 37 Matt Ellis
10 Christian Ehrhoff – 3 Mark Pysyk
6 Mike Weber – 57 Tyler Myers
44 Brayden McNabb – 4 Jamie McBain
30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth