The Jackets finally get back on the ice for real again tonight in Buffalo. It's been another layoff, this time only four days, but the question remains: are the Jackets going to sleep-walk through large chunks of the game again tonight?
This screams "trap game" (if you believe in such things this early in the season). Buffalo is winless thus far through four games, including losing their first three. They managed an OT point on Tuesday night against Tampa Bay, but still... you have to imagine this is a hungry Sabres team.
Buffalo simply isn't scoring a lot of goals: they've scored just four in four games. But, two of those came in this last outing (they scored one, zero, and one in their first three). On paper, this should help the Jackets, who have been working to find offensive line combinations that can generate offense. Not having to worry about falling into a two- or three-goal hole early would be a good thing.
All of that said, Todd Richards seems to have found some line combinations that were working for the second half of the game Saturday against the Isles. Cam Atkinson moving to the left wing of the top line made them a dangerous group. The Foligno--Johansen--Umberger line was good as well. Hopefully those two units--at least--can continue to generate solid chances and can capitalize.
Fedor Tyutin will travel with the team, but will not dress tonight. Hopefully he will be back on Saturday.
Columbus Blue Jackets
(1-1-0, 2 Points; 5th division, 10th conference)
|Cam Atkinson||Brandon Dubinsky||Marian Gaborik|
|Nick Foligno||Ryan Johansen||R.J. Umberger|
|Matt Calvert||Artem Anisimov||Blake Comeau|
|Derek MacKenzie||Mark Letestu||Jared Boll|
|Dalton Prout||Jack Johnson|
|Ryan Murray||James Wisniewski|
|Nikita Nikitin||David Savard|
(0-3-1, 1 Point; 8th Division, 16th Conference)
|Thomas Vanek||Cody Hodgson||Steve Ott|
|Marcus Foligno||Tyler Ennis||Drew Stafford|
|Zemgus Girgensons||Mikhail Grigorenko||Brian Flynn|
|John Scott||Kevin Porter||Patrick Kaleta|
|Christian Ehrhoff||Mark Pysyk|
|Mike Weber||Tyler Myers|
|Jamie McBain||Rasmus Ristolainen|
10/10/13 - Columbus at Buffalo
01/18/14 - Columbus at Buffalo
01/25/14 - Buffalo at Columbus
2012-2013 Head to Head Stats
Sabres Columbus 1.00 (30) GPG 2.50 (18) 2.50 (9) GAPG 3.00 (15) 11.8% (24) PP% 40.0% (3) 90.9% (7) PK% 80.0% (17) four tied, 1 G leader five tied, 1 four tied, 1 A leader Brandon Dubinsky, 2 two tied, 2 Pts leader three tied, 2 two tied, 3 PIM leader Jack Johnson, 6 0-1-1 Home/Road 1-0-0 10/8 vs Tampa Bay, 3-2 (OT) Last Game 10/5 @ NY Islanders, W 3-2 (SO) 0-3-1 Last 10 1-1-0
- How "Good" Are You? - I'm not surprised that Buffalo is struggling to start the year. I don't know too many people that expected a ton from them this season. That said, this game is one of those measuring sticks for an up and coming Jackets team. If you're as "good" as you think you are, you should destroy this Buffalo team. Let's see how it plays out.
- Special Teams - The Jackets have Power Play goals in each of their first two games, and are two-of-five thus far. The Power Play goal on Saturday was a huge catalyst for turning the tide of the game. Can the Jackets continue to develop this aspect of their game? The Jackets' PK has been decent, though they sometimes seem to be giving the opponents too many shots from the point. Hopefully as the lines set up a bit the Jackets can get back to the smothering PK they had last season.
This is a winnable game. The Jackets need to show us how good they really are. Don't let a struggling team up off the mat.