Preview: Blue Jackets at Sabres
The Columbus Blue Jackets are knocking on the door of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, surging into contention on the heels of a season-high five-game winning streak. The Blue Jackets, who are two points out of the final postseason spot with at least one game in hand on every team in front of them, vie for their sixth consecutive victory when they visit the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. Columbus scored three first-period goals in a 4-1 win at Buffalo on Oct. 10.The Sabres had won five straight at home before their game against Carolina on Jan. 7 was postponed by a blizzard and they have struggled since, playing four consecutive one-goal contests and coming out on the short end in three of them (1-1-2). Buffalo fell in a shootout at Toronto on Wednesday, one night after having its eight-game home point streak (6-0-2) snapped when Philadelphia scored three goals in the final 6:32 of the third period. Saturday's contest kicks off a three-game homestand for the Sabres.TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Columbus), MSG (Buffalo)ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (22-20-4): Cam Atkinson continued his hot streak by scoring twice in Friday's rout of Washington, giving him five goals in his last five games. Mark Letestu notched his fourth goal in three contests and extended his point streak to four games while defenseman Jack Johnson had his second straight two-assist performance to give him five points in his last three games. Sergei Bobrovsky continued his sensational play since returning from a five-week injury absence, allowing six goals in four starts to improve to 6-0-0 in his last six.ABOUT THE SABRES (13-27-6): Zemgus Girgensons is mired in a 10-game goalless drought and does not have a point in his last eight games, but he registered 13 hits against the Maple Leafs - the most in the league this season. Drew Stafford, who returned from a four-game absence in Toronto, has scored only four goals after registering six last season, leading to some possible line-shuffling. "Whatever line Girgensons plays with, I think you're going to get the same effort," coach Ted Nolan said. "With Drew, we just need a little bit more from him."OVERTIME1. Columbus is 6-1-0 since F Nathan Horton made his season debut following offseason shoulder surgery.2. Sabres F Matt D'Agostini suffered an upper-body injury at Toronto and is expected to be sidelined for a week.3. Blue Jackets D Fedor Tyutin sat out Friday's game with an illness.PREDICTION: Blue Jackets 3, Sabres 2
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