The Sabres returned home for their final home preseason game, facing the Columbus Blue Jackets and walked away with a 3-0 win. Ville Leino, Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons scored a goal in the win.
The team, riding a two-game losing streak, now sits at 3-1-1. News coming out of the locker room of Corey Tropp undergoing jaw surgery to repair his broken jaw and missing about 5-6 weeks now creates a chance for someone to slide into his place.
Referring to the “Sabres Edge” article in the Buffalo News, the players listed to be scratches are Jamie McBain, Kevin Porter, Nakita Zadorov, Brian Flynn, Luke Adam, and the injured Corey Tropp.
Jhonas Enroth was the starter in net for the second-to-last game. Mike McKenna was the starter for Columbus. McKenna was also replaced by Jeremy Smith
A notable pairing tonight was Tyler Myers and Henrik Tallinder, the first time these two have been together since Myers’ rookie season.
The first period was very uneventful, with Buffalo and Columbus trading shots back and forth. Buffalo had some minor problems staying out of the penalty box, with Tyler Ennis going in early on a high-sticking call and John Scott going for an interference call halfway through the period.
At the end of the first, the game was tied 0-0. Columbus managed to edge the Sabres in shots by one, registering 9 while Buffalo fired off 8 shots.
The second started off much like the first, each team shooting back and forth, but the goaltenders remaining equal to the task. That was, until the Sabres opened up the scoring.
Ville Leino scored his first preseason goal, off of a Cody Hodgson wrist-shot which deflected off of McKenna’s pad that Leino tipped home to put the Sabres on top, 1-0. Leino’s goal would prove to be the game winner.
The penalty kill definitely went to work in the second, with Leino, Christian Ehrhoff and Zemgus Girgensons going into the box on different calls. Girgensons was assessed a double minor for high-sticking. The unit went to work, and came out successful with no goals allowed.
At the buzzer, the Sabres led the Jackets, 1-0. The Sabres were edged in shots once again, with the Jackets leading 21-15.
The third period had the Sabres coming out with immense pressure and scoring chances. Chances that ultimately ended with a goal. Mikhail Grigorenko, on a rush to the right side of the net, ripped a beautiful wrist-shot on Smiths short side which trickled through and
dribbled into the net. Drew Stafford and Mike Weber were given assists on Grigorenko’s goal.
The Blue Jackets didn’t quit. With 8:05 left, the Jackets caught Enroth on his back. Luckily the puck was ripped away from the goal crease and carried down the length of the ice, leading to a rush of chances by the Sabres.
After that, the Sabres were full throttle, not letting up at all.
The final goal was scored with 47 seconds left, as Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons had a little give-and-go that Girgensons tapped into the empty net. Mike Weber was also credited with an assist on the final goal.
A huge effort by the defense and special teams, only allowing Enroth to see 26 shots total.
The Sabres return to play on Friday as they travel to Raleigh, North Carolina to face the Carolina Hurricanes in their preseason finale.