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Sabres fall short in seesaw battle against Blue Jackets

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Sabres force overtime, but Columbus prevailed for their first win of the season

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Columbus Blue Jackets Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Final Score: Sabres 3 | Blue Jackets 4 (OT)

Shots on Goal: Sabres 18 | Blue Jackets 44

Goal Scorers: Oliver Bjorkstrand (1), Cam Atkinson (2), Marcus Johansson (1), Jeff Skinner(2), Nick Foligno (1), Victor Olofsson (3), Alexandre Texier (1)

Still reeling from an impressive start to the season, the Sabres stepped onto Columbus ice packing on immediate pressure in their opponents’ zone. The Blue Jackets, however, were looking to bounce back from the 11 goals they let in their net during their first two games.

Nearly halfway through the opening period, the first penalty was drawn by none other than Jeff Skinner and the Sabres had an opportunity to keep their power-play streak hot. With Linus Ullmark in net for the first time this season, Columbus was denied a quick breakaway goal and the scoreboard remained 0-0.

It looked as though the score would remain just that for the remainder of the period, but the Blue Jackets tallied the first goal of the night at 18:09 with a bad bounce off of Ullmark’s right arm.

The momentum continued in favor of the home team when Henri Jokiharju went in the penalty box for tripping. The Blue Jackets scored again in the final minute of the period, taking a surprising 2-0 lead into the first intermission.

As the second period went underway, the Sabres were quick to get on the power-play and thanks to a clean pass from Colin Miller, alternate captain Marcus Johansson got the Sabres on the scoreboard with a nice goal early on.

Following a penalty kill for each team, Jeff Skinner robbed Ryan Murray of puck possession in the Blue Jackets’ zone and tied up the game with a beautiful goal to take the game to 2-2 heading into the final period.

After several minutes of back and forth play during the final 20 minutes of regulation, Rasmus Dahlin went back to the penalty box on another interference call, which helped Columbus take the lead yet again with a rebound goal from Buffalo-born Nick Foligno.

With only 14 shots on goal at this point in the game - halfway through the third period - the Sabres needed to step up their offense. Luckily, the Blue Jackets got caught on a delay-of-game penalty off of a face-off and the Sabres went back on the power-play once again - this time with Ullmark pulled from the net in the final minutes of the game.

After some fancy passing in the Blue Jackets’ zone, Victor Olofsson finally ripped a slap shot just inside the far post tying up the game for the third time, steering the game into overtime.

Halfway through the extra “period,” the Blue Jackets took the fourth and final lead of the game, defeating the Sabres 4-3. It was Jack Eichel who got caught in his own corner, handing Buffalo its first loss of the season.

Overall, the Sabres’ offense had many chances and Ullmark had a great game, but they were unable to produce an acceptable amount of shots on goal to lead them to victory.

Next up: Montreal Canadiens @ Buffalo Sabres - Wednesday, October 9th at 7 PM.