Buffalo Sabres look to win their fourth straight in Columbus

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 13: Goaltender Linus Ullmark #35 of the Buffalo Sabres in action during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on October 13, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. The Sabres defeated the Coyotes 3-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 13: Goaltender Linus Ullmark #35 of the Buffalo Sabres in action during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on October 13, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. The Sabres defeated the Coyotes 3-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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The Buffalo Sabres bring a 3 game winning streak into Saturday night’s road game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Buffalo Sabres hit the road again on Saturday night as they head to Columbus to face Metropolitan Division foes the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Sabres come into the game riding a 3 game winning streak, their longest winning streak since January. The wins came on the road in Los Angeles and Anaheim and a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens at home on Thursday.

The winning streak has the Buffalo Sabres in playoff contention 10 games into the season, uncharted territory for the organization, at least in recent memory. The Sabres are being led by one of the newest Sabres, Jeff Skinner, and their captain, Jack Eichel.

It took a change in centers to get Jeff Skinner moving, but since he started skating with Casey Mittelstadt in the fourth game Skinner has been the hottest Sabre. Skinner has 5 goals and 5 assists in his last 7 games and now leads the team with 10 points. All of Skinner’s goals have been at even strength, which has him in the top ten in the league. Skinner has also been one of Phil Housley‘s go to guys as he leads the club’s forwards in offensive zone starts.

Jack Eichel on the other hand has been a model of consistency this season. Eichel’s 6 assists lead the team and his 9 points are only eclipsed by Skinner’s 10 points. Additionally he is averaging more than 20 minutes on the ice per game, which is 2 minutes more than the next closet forward (Sam Reinhart). Eichel also has 42 shots which is good for 4th in the league.

Linus Ullmark will get his 3rd start of the season tonight. Ullmark has been excellent in his limited action this season. His first start was a shutout against the Arizona Coyotes and he allowed 1 goal in his next start against the Los Angeles Kings.

"“Linus has played outstanding for us, just looking at his numbers,. We knew we had to get Linus back in. That’s why he’s playing tonight. But this is going to be a tough challenge for him.” – Head coach Phil Housley"

We have yet to get a firm answer on how many games Ullmark will play this season. Carter Hutton has started the other 8 games for the Sabres and his 4 wins are second best in the league (his 4 losses are second worst in the league).

The Sabres defense has kept their goaltenders busy allowing the 5th most shots this season in the Eastern Conference. Overall the defense has played well, with one exception. The most used pairing of Rasmus Ristolainen and Marco Scandella have not been playing like they should be leading a defense core. Their shortcomings were very evident in the last game against the Canadiens in which they were the only Sabres with a negative CF%.

The Columbus Blue Jackets will also be rolling with their backup goaltender tonight as Joonas Korpisalo. Korpisalo, similar to Ullmark, has yet to lose a start this year. The Blue Jackets are off to a similar start as the Sabres, with 5 wins and 4 losses.

Check out our chat with the folks over at Union and Blue, a great blog about the Blue Jackets.

dark. Next. Buffalo Sabres: Breaking down Jeff Skinner’s strong start