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Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 12:44 AM ET / THE AFTERMATH
By Kevin Snow  - (@kwsnow)
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COLUMBUS, OH --- The story coming into tonight’s game was the NHL debut of Zack Kassian. But when it was all over, a 5-1 road loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets turned into one of the most disappointing losses of the young season for the Buffalo Sabres.

Columbus scored two goals in the first, then lit the lamp twice in a 12 second span in the second period to build an insurmountable 4-0 lead.

Even with the big lead, Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff said the game was more about Buffalo’s inability to get off to a good start on the road than it was about being outplayed by Columbus.

“We started the game with an icing and a penalty. That’s just execution,” said Ruff. “It has more to do with what we did with the puck. That’s a tough start to the game. You want to get momentum, you want to get it in behind their defense, you want to track some people down. You create momentum in the first five or six minutes, or you give the opposition some momentum. I thought we gave them some momentum.”

Buffalo came into the game among the league leaders with a 7-2-0 road record, having won three of their last four away from home. But they once again struggled at Nationwide Arena, a building they’ve now won at just once in six tries (1-4-1).

Captain Jason Pominville echoed Ruff’s sentiments, saying that an effort like that against a team that now has just six wins in 22 games isn’t good enough for anyone in the Buffalo locker room.

“We didn’t deserve it. We weren’t good enough with the puck. We didn’t compete hard enough,” said Pominville. “We play one of the top teams, and play hard. Then we come here against a team that might have been going better, but isn’t where they want to be in the standings - and they took it to us. It wasn’t good enough on our part. From top to bottom the effort just wasn’t good enough. You’re not gonna win when you play that way.”

The injury bug continues to pick away at the Sabres lineup. Already missing seven regulars, defenseman Robyn Regehr went down with an upper body injury tonight, and didn’t play at all in the third period. He will be evaluated further on Saturday.

Kassian picked up his first NHL point when he assisted on Jordan Leopold’s second period tally. Rick Nash scored twice for Columbus, with Marc Methot, Mark Letestu and R.J. Umberger adding singles.

Jhonas Enroth started for Buffalo, but was pulled in the second period after giving up four goals on 18 shots in 24:29 of action. Drew MacIntyre finished the game and allowed one goal on 16 shots. Curtis Sanford and his distinctive baby blue goalie pads went the distance for Columbus, stopping all but one of the 29 Buffalo shots he faced.

The Sabres get right back it on Saturday night when they host the struggling Washington Capitals at First Niagara Center. Game time is 7 p.m.

NOTES: Brad Boyes missed tonight’s game with an injury, ending his consecutive games played streak at 513. Boyes left Wednesday’s game with a leg injury in the second period. This is the first time in his NHL career that he was forced to miss a game due to injury … Patrick Kaleta (lower body) missed his second straight game, and Cody McCormick (upper body) was out for his fifth… Columbus forward Vinny Prospal played in his 1,000th career NHL game tonight. He becomes the 268th player to reach this milestone.

6:45- Good evening from Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH.

6:55- BUF scratches - McCormick, Boyes, Kaleta

6:56- BUF starters: Ehrhoff/Sekera, Vanek/Hecht/Pominville, Enroth

6:57- Kevin Sylvester & Danny Gare will be calling tonight's game; Brian Duff is your host.

7:05- Brad Boyes will miss tonight’s game with an injury, ending his consecutive games played streak at 513. Boyes left Wednesday’s game with a leg injury in the second period. This is the first time in his NHL career that he's been forced to miss a game due to injury

7:07- Sabres in the road whites as usual tonight - while the Jackets are wearing their snazzy dark blue third jersey.

7:08- Game on!

7:09- Nikita Nikitin fires a bomb at Enroth for the game's first shot.

7:11- The Zack Kassian era officially got underway at 7:11 p.m. tonight

7:12- Kassian took to the ice for his first shift at 2:31 of the 1st

7:14- Enroth gets a piece of Nash's shot from the slot

7:15- Enroth comes across the crease to stop Tyutin on the 2-on-1 -- Tyutin then crashes heavily into the end boards

7:16- Columbus goalie Curtis Sanford is rocking some serious baby blue pads, blocker and catcher

7:17- 13:34 left in the 1st. Jackets holding a 5-2 edge in shots

7:21- There are pockets of empty seats in the lower bowl. I fully expected a sell out with all the Sabres fans making the trip down for the game.

7:22- Hecht and Pominville nearly connect in the Jackets zone, but Hecht's pass just missed 29's stick.

7:24- Enroth turns away Nash again. Sabres escape a hooking call too

7:27- CBJ 1-0: Letestu splits 2 Sabres defenders and bangs home the Johansen rebound (10:50)

7:29- In-game host makes lame attempt at humor with a Ryan Fitzpatrick joke. Does that mean I can start making jokes about Ohio State and tattoo parlors?

7:30- Sanford makes two saves in close, even stopping one while getting handcuffed by Roy's shot.

7:34- 5 minutes left in the 1st

7:35- With Ehrhoff charging hard to the net, Leino fires a shot that Sanford handles easily.

7:38- Jackets on the PP - Gragnani off for interference

7:39- CBJ 2-0: Nash cruises through the slot and tips Wisniewski's point shot past Enroth. (16:19, PP)

7:43- Vanek called for hooking - Jackets on the PP with 1:04 left in the 1st

7:46- End of 1: Blue Jackets up 2-0; also hold 15-6 edge in shots.

7:52- Sabres are 1-2-0 when trailing after 1st; Columbus is 3-1-0 when leading after 1

7:53- Sabres are 4-5-0 when opponent scores first; Jackets are 4-3-1 when scoring the game's first goal.

7:55- Zack Kassian skated 5:14 during the 1st - not credited with any hits or shots.

8:03- Game on!

8:11- Time to catch up. Jackets go up 4-0 on goals by Methot (4:17) and Umberger (4:29)

8:12- Jackets on the PP -- Ellis off for hooking.

8:15- GOAL!

8:16- 4-1: Leopold takes a pass from Kassian at the blueline, cuts to the net and fires a laser past Sanford. (8:01)

8:17- Kassian and Regehr officially credited with the assists on Leopold's 5th of the year.

8:20- Sabres go on the PP- McKenzie called for tripping

8:21- Sanford robs Adam, and follows that up with another huge save

8:23- 5-1: Nash pots his 2nd of the night with the easy tap in on the cross ice feed from Carter (14:07)

8:25- The 5 goals are a single-game high for Columbus this season

8:31- Good news: Papa's in the house! Papa John that is.

8:34- End of 2: Jackets now up 5-1.

8:36- Sabres outshoot the Jackets 13-10 in the 2nd

8:40- Jordan Leopold and Rick Nash each with a game-high 5 shots so far tonight.

8:41- Sabres outhitting Columbus 13-12: Sekera, Brennan and Gaustad with 3 each.

8:53- Game on!

8:55- Brennan off for high sticking at 1:46

8:56- MacIntyre with a nice point blank save on Carter after some nice puck movement by the Jackets on the PP

8:57- Ehrhoff's stick explodes on the shot attempt, sending debris into the far corner

8:58- Now Adam goes down a twig blocking a shot. They sure don't make 'em like they used to.

9:04- MacIntyre stops Umberger cutting in from the left side, then denies his wraparound attempt.

9:09- 8:00 remaining in a fast moving 3rd period.

9:09- INJURY UPDATE: Regehr (upper body injury) will not return.

9:18- Macintyre foils Umberger's breakaway attempt.

9:24- FINAL: Columbus 5-1

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