Jackets chase second straight as they visit Sabres
Wednesday, 10.26.2011 / 7:20 PM
BLUE JACKETS (1-7-1) at SABRES (5-3-0)
TV: FS-Ohio (HD), MSG-B
This is the first of two meetings between the teams. They will meet again in Columbus on Nov. 25.
After going winless in their first eight games of the season, the Blue Jackets finally earned their first victory Tuesday night. Ryan Johansen and R.J. Umberger each had a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win against Detroit at Nationwide Arena.
"I don't think anyone in that dressing room has been through anything like the three weeks of hell we've been through," coach Scott Arniel said. "A lot of baggage came with it. I thought the Dallas game (a 3-2 loss last Tuesday) we played well and didn't get rewarded. In Ottawa we played well for 59 minutes. … Tonight everyone in the lineup stepped up and played a part.
"We were energized for 60 minutes. I'm glad for those guys to get that monkey off their back."
Columbus might be 1-7-1 on the season, but it's 1-0 with James Wisniewski in the lineup. The Blue Jackets' free-agent signee, who was suspended for the first eight games of the season, made his debut Tuesday night and played more than 27 minutes.
"It's tough to say that one guy can win a hockey game," goalie Steve Mason said. "But having Wiz back there is huge. His confidence, not just in the way he plays but in the way he carries himself, kind of rubs off on the guys, especially the younger guys.
"He's a real vocal guy in the dressing room, which was great to have tonight. Just a confident presence on the blue line, and hopefully we don't have to go long stretches without him. "
Sabres: Nathan Gerbe
made it a one-goal game at 19:10 of the third period, but Buffalo couldn't find the equalizer and suffered a 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the First Niagara Center on Tuesday night. After getting off to a 5-1-0 start, the Sabres were swept in their home-and-home series with the Bolts.
"We got on them hard, we skated well, and did some good things early on," captain Jason Pominville
said. "After that, we kind of slipped away from our game."
Rick Nash and Vinny Prospal each have 3 goals and 5 assists in nine games for Columbus. … Buffalo forward Thomas Vanek
scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season Tuesday night. Pominville has 10 points (2 goals, 8 assists) in eight games.
Jeff Carter (foot), Kristian Huselius (torn pectoral muscle), Mark Dekanich (ankle), Curtis Sanford (groin) and Jared Boll (thumb) are out for the Blue Jackets, while Radek Martinek (concussion) and Marc Methot (thumb) are day-to-day. … For the Sabres, Tyler Ennis
(ankle) is week-to-week. Jochen Hecht
is out with a concussion.
Prior to Tuesday night, the Blue Jackets had won only once in regulation in their last 30 games. … Sabres forward Brad Boyes
became just the 20th player in NHL history to appear in 500 consecutive games. He also ended an 18-game scoring drought Tuesday night, his first tally since March 19.
"We all have to get better. We all have to improve here. It's not good enough at home. You can credit bounces and teams are tough to play against, but in the end, we lost a hockey game. We've got to figure out how to do it better." -- Sabres goalie Ryan Miller