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.
#CBJ John Tortorella said D Seth Jones is banged up following the All-Star Game so he was held out as a precaution. Expectation is he’ll skate tomorrow morning and play vs. Buffalo.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) January 28, 2019
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.
Statement about Artemi Panarin’s future “We have informed the team that we are willing to discuss Artemi’s future after the season. Our priority now is to focus on the rest of the season, trying to win a Stanley Cup for the CBJ & their fans”. No additional comments will be made..— Dan Milstein-Hockey (@HockeyAgent1) January 28, 2019
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.
Man...Skinner just went down on a drill and slid across the fresh ice -- and took Eichel out low and they both were down....They're both up and seem OK, although Eichel a tad worse for wear...But that could have been an ultra disaster. #Sabres— Mike Harrington (@ByMHarrington) January 28, 2019
Player to Watch
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.
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
10/27/2018 BUF 4 @ CBJ 5 (OT)
01/29/2019 BUF @ CBJ
03/31/2019 CBJ @ BUF
|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|
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|
|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|