Five things to know as the Sabres play at Columbus - The Buffalo News

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Five things to know as the Sabres play at Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Fresh off their 1-0 win in KeyBank Center, the Buffalo Sabres are in Columbus to take on the BlueJackets at Nationwide Arena Wednesday night. The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. on  NBCSN as part of the network's "Wednesday Night Rivalry" package.

The Blue Jackets do not hold morning skates and the Sabres will also skip their pre-game practice with back-to-back games.

Here's what you need to know for tonight's game:

1. The Sabres are looking for a win streak. With the come-from-behind 4-3  overtime win in Boston on Saturday and Tuesday's 1-0 win over Detroit, Buffalo is looking for its first three game winning streak since Feb. 14-18. On the road, the Sabres are 2-0-1 in their last three. A win in Columbus would give the Sabres points in four straight road games for the first time since going 1-0-3 from Nov. 29 to Dec. 20, 2016.

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2. Robin Lehner found a groove. The goaltender recorded his sixth career shutout, fourth as a Sabre, in Tuesday's win against Detroit. Lehner now has played 91 minutes, 35 seconds without allowing a goal. If he plays 35 minutes, 24 seconds without giving up a goal, he will match his career-best shutout streak of 126 minutes, 59 seconds set from March 20 to April 13, 2014. However, with back-to-back games, it's likely that Chad Johnson will get the start against Columbus. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing for the Sabres. Johnson is 5-1-0 lifetime against the Blue Jackets.

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3. Winning on the back end of back-to-backs. Wednesday marks the third of 16 sets of back-to-back games for the Sabres this season. Buffalo is 2-0-0 in the second game. Tuesday night was the first win of the season in the first game of back-to-back sets this season (1-2-0).

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4. Columbus needs a win. The Blue Jackets are halfway through a four-game homestand but are 0-2-0 with losses to Tampa Bay (2-0) and Los Angeles (6-4).

"It's big," Columbus forward Matt Calvert told reporters on Tuesday about the matchup with the Sabres. "We've lost two in a row on our home ice, and our fans have been great for us, cheering loud for us. It's something we really prided ourselves on last year, something we worked on throughout the year, and we became a hard team to play at home. We know teams don't like hearing that cannon, so it's a goal of ours, every night we're on home ice, to get that thing booming."

The cannon, of course, refers to the boom that goes off inside the arena after every Columbus goal.

5. Remember Zac Dalpe? The forward played 21 games for the Sabres in the 2013-14 seasons, along with 44 games in Rochester. On his fifth NHL team with the Blue Jackets, Dalpe has been drawing attention the last few days for Columbus after fourth-line center Lukas Sedlak sustained an ankle injury in practice that could sideline him for up to six weeks.

That opens the door for Dalpe to play in Sedlak's spot, likely skating with rookie Sonny Milano and Matt Calvert. Dalpe, who has played six games for the Blue Jackets and was a healthy scratch in their last game, has a 46.4 percent success rate on face-offs in his career -- an area Columbus wants to improve upon.

 

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