Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Season Outlook: Buffalo Sabres vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

The Buffalo Sabres will face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets three times during the upcoming NHL season. The teams haven’t met since November 25, 2011, but the Blue Jackets and Sabres will play each other more often now as Columbus shifts to the NHL’s Eastern Conference.

Columbus will visit Buffalo twice this season, with the teams also facing off once in Columbus. They still won’t be in the same division, with the Sabres moving to the new Atlantic and Columbus to the Metropolitan, but the Blue Jackets are moving to the Eastern Conference as part of the new realignment.

The Sabres and Blue Jackets met twice in the 2011-2012 season, with each team taking one win away. Buffalo defeated Columbus 4-2 on October 27 before the Blue Jackets came out victorious 5-1 on November 25 of that year.

In that season’s matchups, Thomas Vanek had three assists, Patrick Kaleta scored and Christian Ehrhoff had an assist; the remaining points – including the goal and assists in the November game – were all scored by players who are no longer on the Sabres roster. Rick Nash had a pair of goals in the 5-1 victory for Columbus.

Last season, the Blue Jackets were ninth in the Western Conference with 55 points and a 24-17-7 record.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have added several players to their roster via free agency this postseason: Jack Skille, Frederic St. Denis, Patrick McNeill, Mike McKenna, Jeremy Smith and most notably, Nathan Horton. Last year with Boston, Horton had 13 goals and nine assists for 22 points in 43 games. In his NHL career, he’s scored 25 points (9-16) in 34 games against the Sabres.

Vinny Prospal led the Blue Jackets with 30 points in 48 games last season, but remains unsigned and doesn’t appear to be in Columbus’ plans for the upcoming season. Mark Letestu had 27 points (13-14) in 46 games, while Fedor Tyutin (4-18) and Brandon Dubinsky (2-18) rounded out the top four for Columbus last season.

Players to Watch:

  • COLUMBUS: R.J. Umberger has 11 points in 18 career games against the Sabres; Marian Gaborik has four goals and nine assists for 13 points in 19 games against Buffalo. Mark Letestu has four points (3-1) in six games against Buffalo, while former New York Rangers player Artem Anisimov has seven points (3-4) in 12 career games versus the Sabres.
  • BUFFALO: Since Columbus used be in the Western Conference and many of the Sabres players have never played elsewhere, much of the team’s roster has few points against the Blue Jackets. Christian Ehrhoff and Steve Ott, two former Western Conferencers, have each tallied 14 career points against Columbus. Finally, Thomas Vanek and Tyler Ennis have six and four career points against the Blue Jackets, respectively.

Meetings This Season:

  • October 10 @ BUF
  • January 18 @ BUF
  • January 25 @ CBJ

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Columbus Blue Jackets

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