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Game 29 Preview - Blue Jackets visit Buffalo to begin two game series with the Sabres

Has the clock run out on the CBJ’s Covid luck?

Columbus Blue Jackets v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Columbus Blue Jackets at Buffalo Sabres
Monday, December 20, 2021 - 7:00 PM
Key Bank Arena, Buffalo, New York
TV: Bally Sports Ohio - Radio: 97.1 The Fan
Opponent’s Blog: Die by the Blade

Columbus Blue Jackets (14-13-1, 29 points, 5th Metropolitan, 10th Eastern)
at
Buffalo Sabres (10-15-5, 25 points, 6th Atlantic, 13th Eastern)

The Blue Jackets’ five four game road trip concludes tonight in Upstate New York, with a matchup versus the Buffalo Sabres, who are having a decent season by their standards. The Sabres have gone 3-6-3 since they last hosted Columbus on November 22, with a four game point streak preceded by a five game point drought. Tage Thompson leads the team with 10 goals, having already beaten his personal best in a season.

On the Blue Jackets side of things, centers Boone Jenner and Jack Roslovic and defenseman Gabriel Carlsson have been added to the Covid list and will miss tonight’s game. Expect Emil Bemstrom and Jake Christiansen to make their season debuts tonight, as well as Gregory Hofmann to return into the lineup.

Player to Watch: Cole Sillinger

Sillinger has been disappointing as of late, with only three points in the last month. However, with no other options, expect him to return to the top line with Voracek and... Nyquist? The lines are probably going to be a crapshoot, and Patrik Laine could also return. Anyways, Sillinger was a major factor in the team’s hot start, and his cool-off has coincided with the team production waning. This first test at the NHL level will show where Sillinger is at, development wise.

Season Series:

11/22/21 - Columbus 7 at Buffalo 4
12/20/21 - Columbus at Buffalo
12/23/21 - Buffalo at Columbus

Stats:

Buffalo Columbus
2.67 (23) GPG 3.18 (10)
3.43 (28) GAPG 3.36 (25)
18.4% (18) PP% 18.6% (17)
80.0% (15) PK% 78.7% (22)
48.3% (23) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 48.5% (21)
47.8% (22) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 47.3% (25)
7.9% (14) 5v5 Shot % 8.9% (6)
.915 (24) 5v5 Save % .913 (26)
Tage Thompson, 10 G Leader Captain Boone Jenner, 11
Kyle Okposo, 14 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 21
Kyle Okposo, 20 P Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND, 23
Rasmus Dahlin, 24 PIM Leader A. Peeke & C. Sillinger, 19
6-8-2 Home / Road 5-10-0
2-5-3 Last 10 2-7-1

Projected Lineups:

Columbus Blue Jackets (complete guess):

Gustav Nyquist Cole Sillinger Jakub Voracek
Yegor Chinakhov Max "Madman" Domi Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Alexandre Texier
Gregory Hofmann Justin Danforth Emil Bemstrom
Zach Werenski Jake Bean
Vladislav Gavrikov Andre Peeke
Jake Christiansen Gavin Bayreuther
Joonas Korpisalo
Elvis Merzlikins

Buffalo Sabres:

Jeff Skinner Tage Thompson Victor Olofsson
Brett Murray Dylan Cozens Kyle Okposo
Rasmus Asplund Cody Eakin Vinne Hinostroza
Zemgus Girgensons Mark Jankowski John Hayden
Rasmus Dahlin Henri Jokiharju
Jacob Bryson Colin Miller
Casey Fitzgerald Mark Pysyk
Malcolm Subban
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen