Blue Jackets march past Sabres


The Sabres scored multiple goals for just the second time in their last eight games, but it still wasn’t enough as they fell to Columbus 3-2 on Monday night at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.

After a dry opening period of hockey, Columbus opened up the scoring 4:14 into the 2nd period when Pierre-Luc Dubois netted his third goal of the year off of a rebound opportunity. Markus Nutivaara took the initial shot from the right circle, which Robin Lehner stopped with his pad. The puck deflected behind the net where Oliver Bjorkstrand found it after seemingly clipping Lehner in the mask, who went down on the ice. Bjorkstrand collected and shifted the loose puck out to Dubois, who was positioned perfectly for the game’s first goal.

Columbus doubled its lead on a fantastic individual effort from Artemi Panarin early in the final frame. Panarin caught the puck out of the air behind the blue line, skated in, and undressed Marco Scandella on a deke before firing a wrister top corner past Lehner. It was Panarin’s fifth tally of the season while Nutivaara collected his second assist of the night on the goal.

Boone Jenner made it three in a row for the away team, converting on an extended offensive-zone possession for Columbus. After Brandon Dubinsky won the faceoff, Columbus cycled the puck around the back of the net where Dubinsky threw it out in front. Cam Atkinson got a stick on it, but it was Jenner who came in strong to score his third goal.

“It’s a very tough time, not just for the fans of Buffalo, but for the players in that room and coaches; we didn’t envision to be where we are. This is testing us mentally for sure. But we have to push forward.” – Housley

Sam Reinhart got the Sabres on the board just 13 seconds later, deflecting a Victor Antipin shot, floating it past Sergei Bobrovsky for his fourth goal of the year. Ryan O’Reilly crashed in on the forecheck, kicking it back to Antipin at the right circle. Antipin’s quick release got up in the air where Reinhart found it with the bottom of his glove, softening the shot right into the net.

Evander Kane cut the Jackets lead to 3-2 on an excellent wrist shot from the left wing. Jack Eichel started the rush with a no-look pass to an open Kane at the blue line. Kane skated in as Reinhart crashed from the right side, hesitated, and fired a wrist shot into the top corner for his third goal in the past four games.

Seth Jones got called for holding with under two minutes remaining in the game, and the Sabres were not void of chances on the ensuing power play. On their first possession, Eichel slid a cross-ice pass to O’Reilly who put it on net as quick as he could. Bobrovsky made the initial save, but the puck sat in front of Kyle Okposo on the doorstep. The veteran jammed at the loose puck, but couldn’t get it to cross the goal line.

Shortly after, Buffalo was executing its best passing display of the game on a 6-on-4 opportunity after Lehner was pulled. Eichel ended up with the puck on his forehand and ripped a shot towards the top corner of the net. Okposo had a perfect screen so Bobrovsky could not see the shot, but it clanged off the crossbar and out of play.

The Sabres outshot the Blue Jackets 32-29, but they couldn’t complete the comeback as Columbus won its fourth straight contest.

Buffalo continues its homestand on Wednesday night when they take on the Minnesota Wild. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 pm at KeyBank Center.




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