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Game Recap

Sheary’s goal lifts Sabres to win

Back and forth battle ends with Buffalo in the win column

The Buffalo Sabres came out of the All-Star break hot with five different players scoring and 11 players with at least a point on their way to a 5-4 win on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday night.

Buffalo made it clear they were well-rested by taking a 3-1 lead in the first period. They saw that lead quickly disappear with three second-period goals from the Blue Jackets and solid goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky. Conor Sheary netted the only goal in the third period, which ended up being the game-winner as Buffalo controlled play to close out the game.

The win puts Buffalo just two points out of a Wild Card spot and five points from the Montreal Canadians, who are currently holding 3rd place in the Atlantic and have played two more games than Buffalo. The loss for Columbus is their 3rd straight as they fight to hold on to the 3rd spot in the Metropolitan division, just one point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“It was a real character win… We talk about secondary scoring, that was key tonight. From there our checkers and key guys did a great job late…” – Carter Hutton

The secondary scoring opened things up early in the first as Evan Rodrigues banged home a rebound on the end of a 3-on-1 rush with Sheary and Mittelstadt; making it four games in a row with a goal for Rodrigues. Sam Reinhart and Tage Thompson also joined in the first period scoring by finding open ice in the slot and beating Bobrovsky.

Jeff Skinner netted his 31st of the season on a great breakaway pass from Eichel and Sheary scored for his first goal in 11 games.

Carter Hutton held strong, stopping 33 of 37 shots, including all 12 in the 3rd period to close the door on Columbus.

The Blue Jackets took advantage of consistent opportunities from the outside and the points, setting a Pierre-Luc Dubois deflection goal in the 1st. Columbus’ struggling powerplay, ranking just 27th in the NHL with a 14.6% success rate, saw Nick Foligno net an early 2nd-period goal. The Blue Jackets closed the period, taking advantage of some sloppy Buffalo play, with two goals in the final 3:08 by Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson that brought the game even.

Stopping 29 of 34 shots, Bobrovsky’s play was not entirely what the scoresheet showed. Buffalo’s chances were in tight and from the center of the ice, but he kept Columbus fighting with big saves in each period. However, it was ultimately a juicy rebound in front of the net that led to Conor Sheary’s game-winner.

Buffalo will be right back at it on Wednesday, facing off against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX at 8:30 pm. This will be the last game of a five-game road trip which Buffalo will follow with seven in a row at home to open February.

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NHL Standings

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Atlantic Division Leaders:
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Metropolitan Division Leaders:
Y8248-26-8104
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X8244-26-12100
Wild Card leaders:
X8246-29-799
X8247-31-498
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8232-40-1074
8231-41-1072
8229-47-664
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Central Division Leaders:
Y8247-29-6100
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X8245-28-999
Pacific Division Leaders:
Z8250-25-7107
X8246-27-9101
X8243-32-793
Wild Card leaders:
X8243-32-793
X8238-30-1490
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8236-34-1284
8237-36-983
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8235-37-1080
8235-38-979
8231-42-971