Game #61 Preview: Blue Jackets travel to Buffalo to take on red-hot Sabres

Here’s what you need to know

Columbus Blue Jackets at Buffalo Sabres
Tuesday, February 28, 2023 - 7:30 PM
KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York
TV: ESPN+/Hulu- Radio: WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Die by the Blade

Columbus Blue Jackets (19-35-6, 8th Metro, 16th East)


Buffalo Sabres (31-24-4, 4th Atlantic, 10th East)

The Columbus Blue Jackets look to continue their recent stretch of strong play against the even hotter Buffalo Sabres this evening. While I am undoubtedly enjoying these more competitive Jackets, each meaningless point makes me squirm in my seat a bit knowing the rewards that await the lottery winner(s) at the end of the year. Thankfully, Chicago and Anaheim have also been winning, keeping the Blue Jackets at the bottom of the league standings.

Either way, I just keep telling myself to enjoy Jackets hockey while I can and tonight will be no different. You may remember the last time these two teams met, or maybe you don’t if you tried to block out that trauma from your memory. Tage Thompson scored 5 goals and the Sabres were up 6-0 after the first period, en route a 9-4 pounding. The Jackets have had to wait a few extra months for their revenge after their rematch a few weeks later was postponed due to weather. I hope the Jackets keep that last game in their mind and look to make a statement.

Player to Watch

Kirill Marchenko

Marchenko finds himself in striking distance of the franchise record for goals scored by a rookie despite playing in just over half of the team’s games thus far. With Kirill on the top line now, he has Johnny Gaudreau feeding him pucks, allowing him to unleash his shot more often. In the last two games, he’s put 7 shots on net resulting in a pair of goals. In what could be another high-scoring affair tonight, look for Marchenko to throw a bunch of pucks on net.

Jackets Notes

As Brad Larsen said after Sunday’s overtime defeat, “We just ran out of gas.” Playing their 3rd game in 4 nights, their fatigue caught up to them when it mattered most, and it cost them another point. The team was given the day off yesterday to rest up and travel to Buffalo. Look for fresher legs tonight that will hopefully make the Sabres earn the two points they desperately need.

Is this the last time we see Joonas Korpisalo between the pipes for the Jackets? Although Elvis earned another start, Brad Larsen may give Korpisalo his CBJ swan song tonight, just in case he is moved at the trade deadline. If this is it for Korpi, I’m sure the boys will lay it all on the line to make his last game a good one.

It looks like the Blue Jackets are starting to get healthy! Just yesterday, the team activated both Yegor Chinakhov and Carson Meyer off IR, and sent them to Cleveland. They will definitely be a sight for sore eyes for the Monsters, as they desperately need all the talent they can get injected into their lineup for their playoff push. They had a rough weekend, dropping a pair of games to the Grand Rapids Griffins by large deficits.

The Other Bench

The Sabres come into tonight’s game red hot and in hot pursuit of their first playoff birth in 11 years. They’re riding a 5-0-1 point streak and now find themselves in striking distance of the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. After their last meeting, Buffalo is most likely considering these two points in the bank, but things will be a bit more challenging considering the recent injuries to Alex Tuch, and #1 defenseman, Rasmus Dahlin. Thankfully for Buffalo, Dahlin’s injury doesn’t seem to be too serious and is listed as day-to-day.

Season Series

12/7/22 BUF 9 @ CBJ 4
2/28/23 CBJ @ BUF
4/14/23 BUF @ CBJ


Buffalo   Columbus
3.78 (2) GPG 2.55 (30)
3.48 (23) GAPG 3.68 (30)
25.0% (5) PP% 16.3% (30)
72.8% (30) PK% 77.0% (20)
51.75% (7) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 45.55% (29)
50.57% (17) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 45.56% (29)
9.75 (2) 5v5 Shooting % 7.69 (26)
.908 (26) 5v5 Save % .909 (23)
Tage Thompson, 40 G Leader Boone Jenner, 18
Rasmus Dahlin, 48 A Leader Johnny Gaudreau, 39
Tage Thompson, 79 P Leader Johnny Gaudreau, 54
Rasmus Dahlin, 72 PIM Leader Mathieu Olivier, 77
12-15-2 Home / Road 6-17-4
5-4-1 Last 10 4-3-3

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Patrik Laine Boone Jenner Johnny Gaudreau
Kirill Marchenko Jack Roslovic Kent Johnson
Liam Foudy Cole Sillinger Emil Bemstrom
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Mathieu Olivier
Tim Berni Erik Gudbranson
Nick Blankenburg Andrew Peeke
Gavin Bayreuther Adam Boqvist
Elvis Merzlikins
Joonas Korpisalo

Buffalo Sabres

Jeff Skinner Tage Thompson Jack Quinn
Vinnie Hinostroza Dylan Cozens Casey Mittelstadt
J.J. Peterka Peyton Krebs Victor Olofsson
Zemgus Girgensons Tyson Jost Kyle Okposp
Owen Power Henri Jokiharju
Kale Clague Matias Samuelsson
Jacob Bryson Ilya Lyubushkin
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen
Eric Comrie/Craig Anderson

Let’s go Jackets!

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