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A fluke goal early in the third period proved to be the difference Tuesday night as the Columbus Blue Jackets held on for a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres before 16,304 at Nationwide Arena.

The Jackets took a 3-0 lead when Curtis Brown of the Sabres shot the puck into his own net during a delayed penalty call.

Buffalo goaltender Mika Noronen left the net and headed for the bench when a slashing penalty was called against Mike Sillinger of Columbus at 4:41 of the third. Brown carried the puck into the Columbus zone and tried to pass it back to the point. The puck eluded J.P. Dumont and slid down the ice into the empty net. Marty Spanhel, the last Blue Jacket to touch the puck, was credited with an unassisted goal.

Former Sabre Geoff Sanderson assisted on Robert Kron's goal at 1:39 of the first period. Then Sanderson scored the second on a two-man advantage at 6:55 of the second. Sanderson had nine shots on goal overall.

The Sabres picked up their play in the final 10 minutes. Dumont scored at 14:17 on an assist from Maxim Afinogenov. Tim Connolly scored on the power play with 2:12 left to cut the margin to one goal. Taylor Pyatt and Dumont had the assists on Connolly's goal.

"Our defense didn't handle (the puck) very well," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "It led to us getting down where we couldn't come all the way back. We generated a lot of chances but we missed the net an awful lot. . . . The fact that we walked into some good scoring situations and missed the net completely -- that hurt us."

Noronen had 33 saves for Buffalo. Ron Tugnutt had 30 saves for Columbus, 16 in the second period.

The Sabres, 1-2 in the preseason, return to action Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.

Ruff indicated that the roster may be trimmed before the weekend games. "We'd like to get down to a smaller number by Thursday," he said.

Ramsey is honored

EVELETH, Minn. -- Former Buffalo Sabres player and coach Mike Ramsey heads the list of inductees into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

Ramsey, currently an assistant coach with the Minnesota Wild, will enter the Hall here on his 41st birthday, Dec. 3, along with two other Minnesota natives -- Ramsey's 1980 U.S. Olympic teammate Dave Christian of Warroad, and Paul Johnson of West St. Paul.

Ramsey said he's very excited to receive recognition for his career.

"When I heard, I got butterflies in my stomach," Ramsey said. "It's something to be proud of. When you're growing up, it's not something you're thinking of, or part of your goals. You're just going out to play hockey. As the process continued from high school to college to the Olympics to the pros, you realize that you had some success."

Ramsey played 14 seasons with the Sabres (1979-93). He split his last four seasons between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings.

Ramsey holds the Sabres' record for most regular-season games played by a defenseman with 911. In 1,070 games, Ramsey scored 79 goals with 266 assists for 345 points, and he amassed 1,012 penalty minutes.

Ramsey and Christian won a gold medal for the American team in Lake Placid in 1980. Christian went on to play 15 seasons in the NHL. His best seasons were with the Washington Capitals, including 1985-86, when he scored 41 goals with 42 assists.

Johnson, 66, was a member of the U.S. Olympic Team that captured the gold medal at the 1960 Winter Games.

Osgood up for grabs

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings have left goaltender Chris Osgood unprotected for the NHL's waiver draft after the team was unable to trade him.

When the Red Wings acquired six-time Vezina Trophy winner Dominik Hasek from Buffalo in June for Slava Kozlov, a first-round pick and future considerations, it made Osgood expendable.

Teams are allowed to protect 18 skaters and two goaltenders for Friday's waiver draft. Teams will pick in the reverse order of their finish last season.

The Wings are believed also to have left two of the following four players unprotected: Steve Duchesne, Uwe Krupp, Steve Brule or Brent Gilchrist.

Protected lists will be released to the public today. The Sabres will not have any players who are expected to make major contributions to this season's team left unprotected.

Roberts suspended

NEW YORK -- -- Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Gary Roberts was suspended for three preseason games for abusing an official during a game against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.

Roberts was assessed a game misconduct penalty for applying physical force to linesman Scott Driscoll as he was trying to get at Ottawa's Chris Neil.

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