directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Game Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets @ Buffalo Sabres 10/19/07 7:30 P.M. EST

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Friday, October 19, 2007

Game Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets @ Buffalo Sabres 10/19/07 7:30 P.M. EST

Probable Lineups:

Nash - Peca - Zherdev
Glencross - Fedorov - Vyborny
Chimera - Malhotra - Boll
Novotny - Brule - Fritsche/Shelley

Hejda - Foote
Hainsey - Klesla
Russell - Tollefsen


Vanek - Roy - Afinogenov
Hecht - Connolly - Pomimville
Kotalik - Gaustad - Stafford
Peters - Mair - Paille

Lydman - Tallinder
Campbell - Kalinen
Paetsch - Sekera


Game notes:
The Jackets are up against a very tough opponent in last year's Eastern Conference finalists the Buffalo Sabres. The Jackets haven't seen much of this team over the past two seasons b/c of the weighted schedule. The Jackets, however, were successful in their last regular season meeting against this squad when they beat the Sabres 3-2 in a very spirited affair last year at Nationwide Arena.

The Sabres took a huge hit to their lineup when key pivots Chris Drury and Daniel Briere left for greener pastures in the offseason. With those two gone Thomas Vanek is now the centerpiece of their offense. Defensemen Brian Campbell currently leads this team in points with 1g and 8 a in 5 games played. Ryan Miller remains the teams main-stay between the pipes.

Buffalo started off slowly losing their first two games but have turned it on as of late winning the last 3 in a row to improve their record to 3-2. The Jackets, on the other hand, have dropped their last two and have an overall record of 2-2-1. The Sabres have been hard to beat at home of late going 28-10-3 last season and 3-10 thus far this year so the Jackets have their work cut out for them.

So enough about the Sabres. The Dispatch doesn't have Shelley listed as being in the lineup tonight but from what Hitch said earlier this week he will be in the lineup. This team played a very rough and tumble game against the Sabres earlier during the preseason with Sabres enforcer Andrew Peters getting some good licks on rookie Tom Sestito. With Shelley in the lineup this is clear indication that this sort of thing will not happen again. I'm looking forward to Shelley but the question is who gets scratched to open up rosters space for him -- my money is on Fritsche.

Other than that the Jackets lineup is pretty much the same as the lineup that went against the Stars. Modin is still out and Westcott will probably be scratched again. The Nash and Chimera lines were rolling well in the last game but guys like David Vyborny, Sergei Fedorov and Gilbert Brule have really struggled early on in the scoring departments -- will this be the game one of all of these three break out? The Jackets could use the extra offensive punch.

Speaking of offensive punch, the Buffalo Sabres have doubled our combined goal output notching 24 to our 12. The good news is that defensively we have outpaced the Sabres only allowing 11 goals against versus their 16. The bottom line here is that your not going to typically outscore a Sabres team if the game opens up - the Jackets will need to play strong defensive hockey and capitalize on their opportunities especailly on Power Play chances.

The Jackets are coming off a tough shoot out loss to Dallas on Wednesday night that they let slip away in the final minutes of the game. They will need to play a very consistent in your face style of game against a Sabres team that make you pay quickly for your mistakes. A win tonight would be a huge confidence booster for the Jackets as they look to shake their past history of slow starts as they slowly try to regain fan confidence.

Finally Pascal Leclaire gets the start tonight. It will be his 4th start of the season and has posted a 2-1 record this far with a GAA 1.67% and a save % of .942.



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