Buffalo Sabres (31-23-4) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (19-35-6)
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SB Nation Blue Jackets Blog: Jackets Cannon
Know Your Opponent
Columbus Blue Jackets
Last Game: 3-2 OT loss to Minnesota
Division Ranking: 8th in Metropolitan Division
PP: 16.3% (30th)
PK: 77.1% (20th)
What to Watch For
1. Don’t Take Them Lightly
The Sabres come into Tuesday’s game on the heels of three consecutive wins, all of which came against some very tough teams in Tampa, Florida and Washington. Tonight’s opponent is in a very different position: 32nd in the NHL. The Blue Jackets aren’t even sniffing a playoff spot, but - BUT - the Sabres still should not take them lightly. This is a game Buffalo absolutely should win, but it’s when you let your guard down that you risk giving up an ‘easy’ win.
Following tonight’s game, it’s right back to a very challenging schedule for the Sabres. Thursday’s opponent, the Bruins, are first in the league. Saturday’s opponent, Tampa, is fifth. Regardless of who you’re facing, come into the game strong and keep the momentum going.
2. Roster Updates (or Lack Thereof)
Rasmus Dahlin didn’t take the morning skate, so it’s anticipated that he’ll be out again. Craig Anderson is expected to be the starting goaltender for Tuesday’s game.
The other update: Riley Stillman, the defenseman Buffalo acquired Monday via trade, will not play Tuesday night. It’ll take a little bit for him to join the team due to immigration paperwork, but graciously, that also means the Sabres don’t need to make any moves to get under the contract limit for now. Otherwise, once Stillman does come over, the Sabres may need to execute a paper move (such as sending UPL down) or otherwise shift some contracts. (Of course, this also depends on what, if any, deals they make before Friday’s 3 p.m. deadline).
3. The Leaders
On the Buffalo side, of course, Tage Thompson leads the team with 40 goals and 79 points. Dahlin and Tuch are out, but Jeff Skinner (59 points) and Dylan Cozens (52 points) are other key players for the Sabres’ offense.
For the Blue Jackets, well, things aren’t as bright. Johnny Gaudreau leads the team with 39 assists and 54 points on the season, while Patrik Laine has 38 points. Boone Jenner’s 18 goals lead the team, and only six Columbus skaters have eclipsed the 20-point mark.
Jeff Skinner - Tage Thompson - Jack Quinn
Casey Mittelstadt - Dylan Cozens - Vinnie Hinostroza
JJ Peterka - Peyton Krebs - Victor Olofsson
Zemgus Girgensons - Tyson Jost - Kyle Okposo
Owen Power - Henri Jokiharju
Kale Clague - Mattias Samuelsson
Jacob Bryson - Ilya Lyubushkin
Goaltenders: Craig Anderson (expected starter), Eric Comrie, Ukko Pekka Luukkonen
Injuries: Alex Tuch, Rasmus Dahlin (DTD)
Columbus Blue Jackets
Johnny Gaudreau - Boone Jenner - Kirill Marchenko
Kent Johnson - Jack Roslovic - Patrik Laine
Eric Robinson - Sean Kuraly - Mathieu Olivier
Liam Foudy - Cole Sillinger - Emil Bemstrom
Erik Gudbranson - Tim Berni
Nick Blankenburg - Andrew Peeke
Adam Boqvist - Gavin Bayreuther
Goaltenders: Joonas Korpisalo, Elvis Merzlikins (expected starter)
Injuries: Jake Bean, Justin Danforth, Zach Werenski, Jakub Voracek, Gustav Nyquist,