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Game #45 Preview: Blue Jackets look to build momentum in Buffalo

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

Thursday, February 10, 2021 - 7:00 EST
KeyBank Center - Buffalo, New York
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Die by the Blade

Columbus Blue Jackets (21-22-1, 43 points, 5th Metro, 10th East)

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Buffalo Sabres (14-24-7, 35 points, 7th Atlantic, 15th East)

Following a gutsy win in Washington on Tuesday, the Blue Jackets will look to build on that momentum in the second game of their five game road trip. The next two games are against the two worst teams in the conference. The Jackets should win both; but will they?

This game was originally supposed to be played on December 20, but was postponed due to COVID cases on the Jackets’ roster. The December 23 game in Columbus was postponed as part of a league-wide shutdown, and will be made up on February 20.

Player to Watch

Patrik Laine

Laine is white hot right now, with four straight multi-point games. Another one would match the franchise record held by Artemi Panarin. Laine has scored two goals in three straight games, which is itself a franchise record. Both goals in Washington were on the power play, where Laine had been held scoreless all season. Unfortunately, he is dealing with some “irritation” after an injury in practice on Wednesday, so his status for tonight is up in the air. As a result, the Blue Jackets have used an emergency callup on Carson Meyer:

If Laine can’t play, then Meyer becomes the player to watch. If he makes his NHL debut, it would give the Jackets FOUR players either born or raised in Columbus in the lineup. A full third of the forwards would be homegrown. That’s pretty cool! In addition, Meyer’s debut coming a game after Trey Fix-Wolansky’s speaks well for the organization’s drafting and development, to get those late round picks to the big leagues.

Jackets Notes

The Blue Jackets have won three straight road games, and four of their last five ... Boone Jenner is one goal away from 20. This is the second-most goals he has scored in a season, and we have 38 games left. He is tied for the fourth most points in a season for his career, with just 18 required to set his career high ... Fun fact I saw yesterday in Aaron Portzline’s recap: By scoring a goal in his NHL debut, Fix-Wolansky became the sixth Blue Jacket to accomplish that feat. The others were David Vyborny, Rick Nash, Jakub Voracek, Nikita Filatov, and Pierre-Luc Dubois. Quite a list, huh?

The Other Bench

Buffalo has been off for 10 days. They last played in Vegas last Tuesday. Will they be rested or rusty? ... Since we last faced the Sabres, they now have Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs in their lineup. Those were the two players included in the Jack Eichel trade with Vegas ... Good article from Die By the Blade about Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre, part of a series of profiles for Black History Month. JLGP made his NHL debut with the Sabres before joining the Jackets for their inaugural season.

Season Series

11/22/2021 CBJ 7 @ BUF 4
12/20/2021 02/10/2022 CBJ @ BUF
12/23/2021 02/20/2022 BUF @ CBJ

Stats

Buffalo Columbus
2.56 (26) GPG 3.14 (13)
3.47 (28) GAPG 3.68 (30)
19.4% (19) PP% 16.2% (27)
75.2% (26) PK% 79.9% (17)
46.9% (25) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 47.5% (21)
45.8% (29) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 46.4% (28)
7.7 (20) 5v5 Shooting % 9.3 (5)
.918 (19) 5v5 Save % .905 (28)
Jeff Skinner, 16 G Leader Boone Jenner, 19
Rasmus Dahlin, 21 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 28
Tage Thompson, 30 P Leader Boone Jenner, 32
John Hayden, 40 PIM Leader Andrew Peeke, 30
7-12-3 Home / Road 9-12-0
4-5-1 Last 10 5-5-0

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Patrik Laine Boone Jenner Gus Nyquist
Jakub Voracek Cole Sillinger Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Max Domi Sean Kuraly Yegor Chinakhov
Brendan Gaunce Jack Roslovic Trey Fix-Wolansky
Zach Werenski Andrew Peeke
Vladislav Gavrikov Adam Boqvist
Gavin Bayreuther Dean Kukan
Joonas Korpisalo
Elvis Merzlikins
Buffalo Sabres
Jeff Skinner Tage Thompson Alex Tuch
Anders BJORK Dylan Cozens Kyle Okposo
Rasmus Asplund Peyton Krebs Victor Olofsson
Mark Jankowski Cody Eakin John Hayden
Rasmus Dahlin Henri Jokiharju
Robert Hagg Mark Pysyk
Mattias Samuelsson Jacob Bryson
Craig Anderson
Dustin Tokarski