Round One of Sabres versus Blue Jackets went Columbus’ way. Buffalo gets to host Round Two on Saturday.
Here are Five Things to Know as the teams face off in KeyBank Center at 7 p.m.
1. They know what they’re getting
The Blue Jackets’ 4-3 victory Friday night was the teams’ first meeting of the season. Buffalo fell to 1-6-2 in the last nine games.
“They showed what they are,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said Saturday. “I don’t think they bowl you over with high-profile names. They certainly have good players and skill, but they’re a working team, an aggressive team. They’re a team that probably has the highest battle level in the league of any teams we’ve played.
“We’ve seen their success throughout the year, but it was our first chance to taste it and it was as advertised.”
2. Anders Nilsson in net
The Sabres will turn to Nilsson to man the net. The goaltender is 9-9-4 with a .920 save percentage and 2.75 goals-against average.
He is coming off a 41-save loss Sunday in Pittsburgh but has started just two of the previous 15 games.
3. Columbus shooting for history
The Blue Jackets (43-17-6, 92 points) have tied the franchise record for wins in a season and are one point away from tying the team mark set in 2013-14.
Columbus is 8-2-1 in the past 11 games while outscoring opponents, 34-16.
4. Get in front
The Blue Jackets are turning to backup Joonas Korpisalo (5-2, .915 save percentage), and Bylsma wants players to block the goalie’s view. They didn’t do that with Sergei Bobrovsky in net Friday.
“We got a fair number of scoring chances in the game,” Bylsma said. “I still think we have to do a better job of getting pucks to the net-front area. We had four or five in the first where we missed that opportunity. By my calculation, we didn’t have any net-front presence from our other players around their goaltender.”
5. Start new streaks
The Sabres’ Jack Eichel (11 games) and Ryan O’Reilly (five games) saw their point streaks come to an end Friday.
Buffalo is 4-8-1 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.