Preview: Sabres look for back-to-back wins, face Columbus tonight

2000s night to showcase last good decade

Game 58

Buffalo Sabres (25-24-8) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (30-17-10)

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY


Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Blue Jackets Blog: The Cannon

Know Your Opponent

Columbus Blue Jackets

Record:  (30-17-10) |  70 PTS

Last 10: 7-1-2

Division Ranking: 4th in the Metropolitan Division

Conference Ranking: 6th in the Eastern Conference

PP: 26th (16.6%)

PK: 28th (74.8%)

What to Watch

1. The Return of Goal-ofsson and Okposo

While it has been difficult to watch the Sabres play this season, one thing is for sure: Victor Olofsson’s return should spark some enthusiasm among both teammates and fans. The Swedish forward has been out since early January with a high-ankle sprain and may be back in the lineup tonight - sooner than anticipated. Even with his injury, Olofsson is still second in the NHL as a rookie with 35 points in 42 games. If he returns tonight, he will be back on captain Jack’s line, bumping Jimmy Vesey down where he belongs - the third line.

Also re-joining his teammates will be Kyle Okposo, who has a long history of injuries and concussions in his career. He left a match-up against Montreal on January 30th with an upper-body injury and is expected to play back on the fourth line tonight.

2. A Look Back in Time: 2000s night

A commemorative pennant will be given to the first 10,000 fans tonight and viewers can enjoy reminiscing about arguably the most fun decade as a spectator (after the 1970s). Chris Drury, Daniel Briere, Brian Campbell, Jay McKee, and other alumni will be honored and there will likely be a roll in the highlight film tonight to relive some of the team’s greatest goals, fights, Rick Jeanneret commentary, and coaching.

3. Looking for a Strong Start

Is it the off-season yet? While many fans have been scratching their heads and likely thinking this season has been worse than tanking intentionally, now may be the time for much reflection. At the very least, Buffalo should be looking to start out strong tonight, seeing as playing catch-up has not worked in their favor as of late. They have had a lot of trouble recovering from deficits in the first period - case in point: the Anaheim game this past Sunday. Also working in their favor may be the Blue Jackets’ back-to-back losses coming into tonight’s game. Columbus has not lost two games in a row in regulation since early December, so the Sabres may want to use that to their advantage.

Projected Lineup

Buffalo Sabres


Victor Olofsson - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner - Evan Rodrigues - Scott Wilson/Michael Frolik

Jimmy Vesey - Curtis Lazar - Conor Sheary

Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo


Brandon Montour - Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe - Henri Jokiharju

Rasmus Dahlin - Colin Miller

Lawrence Pilut - Zach Bogosian

Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton (unconfirmed)

Columbus Blue Jackets


Nick Foligno - Pierre-Luc Dubois - Oliver Bjorkstrand

Gus Nyquist - Boone Jenner - Liam Foudy

Nathan Gerbe - Riley Nash - Eric Robinson

Sonny Milano - Kevin Stenlund - Emil Bemstrom


Zach Werenski - Markus Nutivaara

Vladislav Gavrikov - David Savard

Scott Harrington - Andrew Peeke

Starting Goaltender: Elvis Merzlikins (unconfirmed)