The Columbus Blue Jackets stubbed their toes in different ways in their last two contests and look to snap out of the funk as they begin a stretch of four games in six days when they host the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday. Columbus, which got off to a 5-1-0 start this season, was shut out despite recording 43 shots against Tampa Bay on Thursday before giving up six goals in a loss to Los Angeles two days later.
“They got one late and it’s unfortunate,” Columbus captain Nick Foligno told reporters after Saturday’s 6-4 loss. “That’s a game we have to find a way to win, especially at home. You can’t lose two in a row, and that’s something we haven’t done in a long time.” The Blue Jackets play three of their next four at home, starting with a matchup against a Buffalo team that has earned at least one point in four of its last five contests (3-1-1). Benoit Pouliot scored for the second straight game after going without one in his first eight contests as the Sabres blanked Atlantic Division-rival Detroit 1-0 on Tuesday. Evander Kane leads the way offensively with six goals for Buffalo, which has won back-to-back games for the first time this season.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN
ABOUT THE SABRES (3-5-2): Pouliot stepped up in the last two games and Buffalo needs more players to join Kane, Jason Pominville (five goals), Jack Eichel (four) and Ryan O’Reilly (three) - who have combined for 40 of the team’s 68 points. Defensemen Taylor Fedun and Viktor Antipin each notched an assist on Pouliot’s goal Tuesday for their first points of the campaign. The Sabres, whose win over the Red Wings was their first in four home games this season, continue to struggle on the power play with five goals on 36 opportunities after going 0-for-9 over the last three contests.
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (5-3-0): Boone Jenner made his season debut against Los Angeles and made an immediate impact with six shots and four hits in 18 minutes, 11 seconds of ice time. “He gives our team a different look,” coach John Tortorella told reporters. “He does a lot of things for us. It’s great to have him back in the lineup.” Rookie Sonny Milano scored his team-leading fifth goal on Saturday and Artemi Panarin notched his eighth assist to push his team-best total to nine points while Foligno posted his first multi-point performance of the season (two).
1. Sabres backup G Chad Johnson, who did not play on Tuesday, is 5-1-0 with a 1.81 goals-against average in his career against Columbus.
2. The Blue Jackets scored on the power play Saturday for the first time since the season opener and are 2-for-22 overall.
3. Columbus placed C Lukas Sedlak (ankle) on injured reserve and recalled LW Markus Hannikainen from Cleveland of the American Hockey League.
PREDICTION: Blue Jackets 5, Sabres 3