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Sabres vs Blue Jackets Game Preview: Sixth loss in a row on the cards?

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Second in a four-game homestand for the Sabres

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Buffalo Sabres Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Game #21

Buffalo Sabres (5-11-4) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (12-7-1)

Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY

TV: SN1, SNE, SNP, MSG-B, FS-O

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Blue Jackets blog: The Cannon

What to Watch

1. Can the Sabres stop their losing streak?

Buffalo has lost five on the trot, and not to fill you with any sort of hope, but tonight might not see the end of that unfortunate streak. Buffalo also had five wins in their first twenty games in the Eichel-tank season, so at the quarter mark of the season it’s safe to say we’re Stallin’ Fallin’ for Dahlin.

2. How will the reshuffled lines do?

With the dearth of talent in the forward ranks (seriously, which NHL team has a worse bottom six than Buffalo?), Housley has reshuffled the lines for tonight. Check out who plays with whom in the Projected Lines below.

3. Eichel & Kane split up

All season long many readers have been saying that for the Sabres to get the best out of both stars, they need to be on different lines. Let’s see how that goes tonight.

Know Your Opponent

1. Three-game winning streak

CBJ come into tonight riding high leading the division, with a three-game winning streak, and the knowledge that the Sabres will flatten like a poorly-made souffle after dismantling them 5-1 earlier this season with three goals in three minutes. Gulp.

2. Cam Atkinson gets long-term contract

The Blue Jackets have just given key forward Atkinson a bumper new deal, 7 years for 7 year $41.25 million, which works out to a cap-friendly $5.875m per year. Locking up a top line forward for a very favorable AAV is going to work out very well for Columbus.

3. Stingy defense and goaltending

Columbus’ point leader is Artemi Panarin with 14, which doesn’t seem much because they have pretty balanced scoring. However, they are only giving up 2.50 goals per game, and Sergei Bobrovsky has been a big part of that going 11-4-1, 2.02 GAA & 0.933 SV%.

Projected Lines

9 Evander Kane - 90 Ryan O'Reilly - 23 Sam Reinhart

67 Benoit Pouliot - 22 Johan Larsson - 21 Kyle Okposo

28 Zemgus Girgensons - 15 Jack Eichel - 29 Jason Pominville

17 Jordan Nolan - 51 Kyle Criscuolo - 25 Seth Griffith

6 Marco Scandella - 41 Justin Falk

19 Jake McCabe - 82 Nathan Beaulieu

4 Josh Gorges - 93 Victor Antipin

Starting goalie: 40 Robin Lehner