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Preview: Rivalry Renewed

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Wednesday Night Rivalry on a Thursday

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Buffalo Sabres Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres are bad. Last in the East bad. Same number of wins as Arizona bad. Teammates fighting teammates bad (hi, former Jacket Justin Falk). Losers of 4 in a row bad. Then there’s this.

That being said, watch them win this one 3-1. After all, they did nearly erase a 3-0 deficit in the third period the last time these two teams met.

On the Columbus side, your boys in blue have won two in a row and three of the last four since their end-of-year skid. There are just two games left before the bye week and they’re both against bottom-of-the-league teams. It’s critical to capitalize on this opportunity and bank some points so they lose no ground in the standings next week. New Jersey, for example, is just one point behind but has played 3 fewer games.

To help the cause, Alexander Wennberg was activated from IR yesterday, just 3 weeks after being out for “4-6 weeks.” The projected lineup is based on the line rushes from practice yesterday (per Brian Hedger), but Wennberg participated too so don’t be surprised if he enters the lineup somewhere. Sonny Milano is likely out after taking a hard hit on Monday. In his absence the Jackets could use another skilled forward like Wennberg.

Brandon Dubinsky was another practice participant but has not been activated yet.

In case you missed it, the All Star teams were announced yesterday, including our own Seth Jones

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Josh Anderson
Jordan Schroeder Boone Jenner Nick Foligno
Matt Calvert Lukas Sedlak Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Tyler Motte Zac Dalpe Markus Hannikainen
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Markus Nutivaara David Savard
Scott Harrington Jack Johnson
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo
Buffalo Sabres
Benoit Pouliot Jack Eichel Kyle Okposo
Evander Kane Ryan O'Reilly Jason Pominville
Zemgus Girgensons Evan Rodrigues Sam Reinhart
Scott Wilson Johan Larsson Jordan Nolan
Nathan Beaulieu Rasmus Ristolainen
Brendan Guhle Jake McCabe
Josh Gorges Justin Falk
Robin Lehner
Chad Johnson