The Sabres were hoping to snap a three game losing streak against Columbus. The last time these teams met was in 2008, when Columbus crushed Buffalo by a 6-1 score.
First place may be out of reach since Washington is on a 13 game winning streak, but the Sabres only trail the Devils by three points for 2nd place. Patrick Lalime is expected to get the start in net tonight. Prior to this game, Ryan Miller had started 12 straight games.
Lalime hasn't started since January 19th when he gave up four first-period goals, and had to be replaced by Miller, in an eventual loss to Anaheim. In that game, Miller was credited with the loss, even though he only allowed one goal.
Buffalo outshot Columbus 10-7 in the first period, but neither team could get on the board. Milan Jurcina dumped the puck in from center ice, took a lucky bounce off the boards, and found its way past Patrick Lalime for the 1-0 lead.
Rick Nash scored the second Columbus goal on the power play to but the Blue Jackets up by two. Buffalo had a power play of their own to start the third period, but took a penalty to negate the man advantage.
Columbus took advantage by scoring its third goal of the game, putting the Sabres away. The Blue Jackets were not done scoring. Raffi Torres put home a one-timer on the power play to give Columbus a 4-0 lead.
The biggest spark the Sabres had happened in the third period, when Drew Stafford fought R.J. Umberger. As surprising as it was to see Stafford fight, he got the upper hand in the battle.
Patrick Lalime stopped 21 of 25 shots on the night, but the goaltending was not the problem. The Sabres have now lost their last six games on the road.
Buffalo was unable to break the shutout earned by Steve Mason. The Sabres now have three games left before the Olympic break, in which they will hopefully be able to break out of this slump.
The Sabres have now dropped four straight, and remain in the division lead by just one point. Buffalo received some help since Ottawa, New Jersey, and Pittsburgh all lost as well. The Sabres are clinging to the third spot in the Conference.
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Written by Kevin Freiheit