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Sabres score early, hold on late, defeat Blue Jackets

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Buffalo earned a 4-2 regulation victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday evening, inside Nationwide Arena.

The Blue and Gold were backstopped by Michal Neuvirth who posted a .957 save percentage, while stopping 45 of 47 shots faced.

Buffalo jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, off the sticks of Cody Hodgson and Zemgus Girgensons. Hodgson scored the first goal of the evening, courtesy of defensemen Andrej Meszaros and Zach Bogosian. Hodgson made his way down the left side and backhanded a pass towards Columbus goalie Anton Forsberg. Forsberg attempted to clasp the puck between his body and left forearm but the biscuit found a way through and into the back of the cage.

Girgensons extended the Sabres lead 5:12 later, as Buffalo was shorthanded. Girgensons was able to break free and gather the loose puck in the Columbus zone, before Forsberg made his way to the puck. Girgensons made a quick move as Forsberg fell to the ice and placed the puck into the back of the yawning net.

68 seconds into the second period, Matt Calvert gave Columbus its first goal of the evening after teammate Brandon Dubinsky fed a no look pass to the front of the cage, where Calvert was planted. 42 seconds later, Mark Pysyk scored his second goal on the season, with assists from Brian Flynn and Marcus Foligno.

Chris Stewart recorded his 10th goal of the campaign, on the powerplay, after a pass from Girgensons at the 4:30 mark to give Buffalo a 4-1 advantage, early in the second period. 2:54 later the Blue Jackets cut their deficit to 4-2 following a goal from Kevin Connauton, with assists from James Wisniewski and Ryan Johansen.

Buffalo was outshot on the evening 47-31, including getting outshot 18-4 in the third period alone. The Sabres recorded a bulk of their shots in the second stanza, as they outshot the Blue Jackets 18-16.

Girgensons left the contest early after blocking a shot off of his ankle in the second period. Tyler Ennis also left the game early and did not return.

The victory tonight is the first time since December 11, against the Calgary Flames, that the Sabres have recorded at least four goals and won in regulation. The last overtime and shootout victory dates back to December 13 against the Florida Panthers

Buffalo returns to action on Thursday February 26 at 7 p.m. against the Vancouver Canucks inside the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y.

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NHL Standings

DIVTEAMGPRECPTS
Atlantic Division Leaders:
A4631-12-365
A4527-10-862
A4826-17-557
Metropolitan Division Leaders:
M4828-15-561
M4524-13-856
M4726-18-355
Wild Card leaders:
M4723-16-854
M4824-19-553
-----------------------------------------
M4925-21-353
M4824-20-452
M4721-18-850
A4519-20-644
A4719-22-644
A4518-20-743
A4415-20-939
A4611-26-931
DIVTEAMGPRECPTS
Central Division Leaders:
C4828-13-763
C4528-11-662
C4928-18-359
Pacific Division Leaders:
P4631-11-466
P4626-14-658
P4625-16-555
Wild Card leaders:
C4827-17-458
C4526-16-355
-----------------------------------------
P4725-17-555
C4725-17-555
P4822-17-953
C4622-18-650
P4721-23-343
P4718-23-642
P4811-28-929