It was one week ago from tonight that the Sabres took on this same Blue Jackets team, and since then Buffalo has dropped three straight at home. This time, the Sabres are in Columbus and are looking to snap a five game winless streak.
That may be hard to do, though, as the Blue Jackets have been reeling. Columbus is on a franchise-best eight game winning streak and will close out the season series against Buffalo tonight.
The Jackets edged the Sabres in a shootout to win last week’s meeting, but will have the home crowd to their advantage this time.
“We’re feeding off the crowd and the energy,” said coach Todd Richards. “That’s probably been the biggest factor: our comfort level, our confidence level, and the energy of the crowd at Nationwide Arena.”
The winning streak has helped the Blue Jackets climb to 3rd place in the Metropolitan division, but the Penguins still hold a mighty 18 point lead in first place.
As for the Sabres, the offense has been there as of late, but the defensive miscues have not helped out the goaltenders. Despite three in each of the past five games, Buffalo is still struggling to earn a win.
“Sometimes, you go on the road and it’s good for you when you’re in a little bit of a funk,” Moulson said. “You can play a lot simpler. There’s no one to impress on the road and you can concentrate on just grinding out wins. We’ll approach it like that, play a simple game and get wins.”
Ryan Miller and Sergei Bobrovsky are the expected netminders. The Sabres have assigned Mark Pysyk to Rochester so he can play there during the Olympic break. Defenseman Chad Ruhwedel has been called up from the Amerks.
This is the first of three games in four nights for Buffalo. They will be in Pittsburgh on Monday and home against Washington on Tuesday.
Tonight’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be seen on MSG.