The Jackets have been playing much better of late, but this game is one that can immediately be deleted from memory. A battle between the red-hot Joonas Korpisalo and noted hot head Robin Lehner, this one featured everything from 150 foot goals, to boarding majors to almost-goalie-fights.
The opening minutes of the game were fast-paced, with the Jackets dictating play. At 14:53 the Jackets were given a powerplay chance, thanks to a Zemgus Girgensons high hit on Fedor Tyutin. The Jackets were unable to convert, but it was likely due to the inability of "Jack Jones" to find the back of the net. (#Rimer)
The Sabres would get their own man advantage minutes later, but the best chance for either team was a Brandon Dubinsky breakaway. Dubinsky was excellent all night, finishing with ten shots on net.
Lehner gave an indicator of what was to come with a huge save on Cam Atkinson with 7:45 left in the opening period. The big Swede was at his furious best last night.
With Dalton Prout in the box, the Sabres opened the scoring. Off the first faceoff, Rasmus Ristolainen fired a point shot on-net, which was blocked by David Savard. Jack Eichel sent the initial rebound into Korpisalo, but the puck then landed on the stick of trade candidate Jamie McGinn, who made no mistake.
At the end of the period the Jackets were given a prime opportunity to tie the game with a Mark Pysyk penalty. Unfortunately, the next sequence seemed to seal their fate. David Legwand, from 149 feet away, lobbed a puck that fooled Korpisalo, beating the young goaltender in the worst way, with his family in the stands, no less.
The bulk of the second period was garbage hockey, to be frank. It wasn't until late in the period that things got interesting. Scott Hartnell laid out a hard hit on Cody Franson on the end boards. It was anything but malicious, but nonetheless Hartnell was given a five-minute major for boarding. The Sabres had thirty seconds of powerplay on this major before taking the first of three straight minors, nullifying the major. Makeup calls? The hell, you say!
Neither team did any damage, and the score remained 2-0 after two periods.
McGinn put the game out of reach at 7:16 of the third. Eichel beat Prout up the left wing, dropping a short side pass to front of the net, where it made its way McGinn for his second of the night.
The Sabres would add another off the stick of Sam Reinhart later in the period, but the damage was done on the scoreboard. All that remained was another boarding major, this time by Boone Jenner on Zach Bogosian. A big scrum would develop, which ended with Lehner dropping his blocker and trapper in an attempt to fight Jack Johnson. Lehner is a true maniac, this much we are sure of. After the penalties were sorted out, play resumed with Curtis McElhinney taking over goaltending duties from Korpisalo.
The Jackets were unable to break the shutout.
FINAL SCORE: 4-0 Sabres