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Game #56 recap: Jackets fall to Sabres in return home

The Columbus Blue Jackets returned home to take on the equally disappointing this season Buffalo Sabres. Both teams had high hopes this offseason, deserved or not, and have underwhelmed this year. Neither team is in the midst of the playoff race ahead of the deadline.

This game was heavily scouted by teams ahead of the deadline. 

Here’s what happened. 

First Period 

The Sabres opened on the front foot, outshooting the Blue Jackets 6-3 before the first TV timeout. Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen took a penalty for tripping Johnny Gaudreau but after just 12 seconds Boone Jenner took his own tripping penalty to nullify it. Horrid penalty to take by the captain.

The Jackets went back to the power play at 10:30 as Rasmus Dahlin was boxed for holding the stick. This time, the Jackets capitalized – an Ivan Provorov shot was knocked down and Dmitry Vronkov gathered and put it past Luukkonen to open the scoring. 

Columbus goal (1-0): Vronkov from Marchenko and Provorov, 12:05

Late in the period, Jack Roslovic misplayed a 4 on 2 for Columbus leading to a 2 on 1 for Buffalo and Buffalo managed to put it past Merzlikins. 

Buffalo goal (1-1): Girgensons, unassisted, 16:16

No further scoring in the first as the period ended 1-1. 

Second Period 

Kent Johnson opened the second period playing well, but no one else helped him to capitalize on chances. At the midway mark of the period, shots favored Buffalo 23-15. The Jackets earned a power play, but the Sabres controlled the puck for more of the two minutes than they did, easily killing the chance. Late in the second, Buffalo earned a golden power play chance. 

The Jackets power play, Swiss cheese of late, managed to kill it though. Yegor Chinakhov had a breakaway chance denied by the post. 

Voronkov went to the box for tripping at 18:36 but the Jackets escaped the period without allowing a goal. 1-1 after 2. 

Third Period

It took just a few minutes for Buffalo to break the tie in the third 

Buffalo goal (1-2): Clifton, unassisted, 3:05

The Jackets were less than sharp in the third

Neither team found the back of the net, and the Sabres earned both points. 

Final  

Columbus Blue Jackets 1 Buffalo Sabres 2

Final Thoughts

15 goals now as a rookie for Dmitry Voronkov. Stick taps to the big Russian, he’s been quite solid this season. In a non-Connor Bedard year, he’d have a case for the Calder. 

Kent Johnson was impactful tonight. One can only imagine he’d be more so with more minutes and more talented linemates on a nightly basis. 

Stick taps to Eric Robinson on his return to Columbus!

Up Next

The Columbus Blue Jackets are back home on Sunday to take on the New York Rangers. Faceoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM ET.