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Game #49 Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets Host Buffalo Sabres in Return From Bye Week and All Star Break

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Here’s what you need to know.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Columbus Blue Jackets Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres at Columbus Blue Jackets
Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Ohio - Radio: WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Die By the Blade

Buffalo Sabres, 24-18-6, 54 points, 5th Atlantic, 9th East
@
Columbus Blue Jackets, 28-17-3, 59 points, 3rd Metro, 6th East

The Columbus Blue Jackets are back. When we last saw the team, they had lost two straight games to limp into the bye week after winning four straight games that saw them vault to the near-top of the Metropolitain Division. The team will look to get back on the winning track tonight as they host the Buffalo Sabres who, after an early season ten game winning streak, have fallen back to earth and out of the playoffs as things currently stand. The Sabres are still a dangerous team, boasting 30 goal scorer Jeff Skinner and All Star Jack Eichel.

For the Blue Jackets, the team welcomes back its two All Stars, Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones, fresh off helping the Metropolitain Division claim the million dollar prize as victors of the tournament.

Unfortunately, Seth Jones took a nasty fall into the goal during the game because Patrick Kane decided an All Star Game was worth wiping out and potentially injuring one of the best defensemen in hockey. Terrible play by Kane in a situation he didn’t need to make it. Jones missed practice yesterday as a result. He is, however, expected to play tonight.

Meanwhile, in off ice news, the long-awaited meeting between Dan Milstein and Artemi Panarin happened on Saturday, along with a follow-up phone call Monday afternoon. As for any resolution to his situation, well, that did not become clear and apparently won’t until the end of the season.

Reactions were as calm and measured as you would expect.

Jarmo now has a decision to make before the end of the season: trade Panarin and get some sort of value for him, or keep him and fully understand that Panarin could walk for nothing in June. With the trade deadline less than a month away, time is of the essence.

For the Buffalo Sabres, the team managed to avoid a scary injury scenario in practice yesterday.

Player to Watch

Jeff Skinner

Jeff Skinner, traded to the Sabres before the season from the Carolina Hurricanes, has thrived playing alongside Jack Eichel this season. Through 48 games, Skinner has posted 30-14-44 for Buffalo and is on pace to shatter his career high of 63 points. Skinner, traded for a second round pick, third round pick, and sixth round pick, made his second All Star appearance this past weekend (his last being his rookie season in 2011, when he also won the Calder Trophy). Skinner, an unrestricted free agent this coming summer, has set himself up for a nice payday. Expect him to see a lot of Seth Jones tonight.

Jackets Notes

Martin St. Louis worked with the Blue Jackets on the power play for the first time in his new role as a consultant ... He also worked individually with several players on Monday, including Alex Wennberg and Boone Jenner ... Atkinson posted 3-2-5 in the All Star Game, while Jones resistered 2-2-4 ... Panarin has 53 points, in 46 games, good for 1.15 points per game, 18th in the league ... Sergei Bobrovsky has not won consecutive starts since before Christmas, when he won four straight between 12/17 and 12/23

The Other Bench

Jack Eichel finished second to Connor McDavid in the fastest skater competition at All Star Weekend ... Jeff Skinner and Jack Eichel both scored as the Atlantic Division fell to the Metropolitain Division during the All Star Game ... Injured defenseman Casey Nelson returned to practice for the Sabres, but is considered day to day and has not been cleared to return ... The Sabres power play has scored just 4 times in its last 41 opportunities

Season Series

10/27/2018 BUF 4 @ CBJ 5 (OT)
01/29/2019 BUF @ CBJ
03/31/2019 CBJ @ BUF

Stats

Buffalo Columbus
2.85 (21) GPG 3.21 (9)
2.98 (15) GAPG 3.02 (19)
17.0% (21) PP% 14.6% (27)
82.2% (9) PK% 82.9% (8)
49.14% (19) EV Corsi % 49.84% (16)
1.003 (13) EV PDO 1.004 (12)
Jeff Skinner, 30 G Leader Cam Atkinson, 27
Jack Eichel, 36 A Leader Artemi Panarin, 34
Jack Eichel, 52 P Leader Artemi Panarin, 53
Zach Bogosian, 42 PIM Leader Josh Anderson, 44
10-12-3 Home / Road 14-8-1
3-6-1 Last 10 6-4-0

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Boone Jenner Josh Anderson
Oliver Bjorkstrand Alexander Wennberg Anthony Duclair
Brandon Dubinsky Lukas Sedlak Riley Nash
Seth Jones Zach Werenski
Ryan Murray Markus Nutivaara
Scott Harrington David Savard
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo

Buffalo Sabres

Jeff Skinner Jack Eichel Sam Reinhardt
Conor Sheary Casey Mittelstadt Evan Rodrigues
Tage Thompson Vladimir Sobotka Jason Pominville
Zemgus Girgensons Johan Larsson Kyle Okposo
Rasmus Dahlin Zach Bogosian
Jake McCabe Rasmus Ristolainen
Marco Scandella Matt Hunwick
Carter Hutton
Linus Ullmark