Blue Jackets-Sabres Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 26, 2011
James Wisniewski wasn't the only reason the Columbus Blue Jackets finally claimed their first victory, but it probably wasn't a complete coincidence that his new team didn't win during his eight-game suspension. The defenseman now looks to help Columbus notch its first road win in more than seven months Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres. Coach Scott Arniel couldn't overstate the significance of Tuesday's 4-1 victory over Detroit, which snapped the Blue Jackets' worst start in franchise history. They spent a week as the NHL's lone winless team. "I don't think anyone in that dressing room has been through the three weeks of hell we just went through," Arniel said. "The psychological, the emotional, everything that came with it. It was a lot of baggage." Acquired from Montreal and signed to a six-year, $33 million deal this summer, Wisniewski had to watch the entire season-opening skid from afar, having been suspended for a preseason hit to the head of Minnesota forward Cal Clutterbuck. He returned to log more than 27 minutes of ice time - the most of any skater - in his Columbus debut, giving the Blue Jackets (1-7-1) a presence they lacked on the blue line throughout their losing streak. "It's tough to say that one guy can win a hockey game, but having Wiz back there is huge," said goalie Steve Mason, who stopped 30 shots despite leaving briefly with an injury. "His confidence, not just in the way he plays but the way he carries himself, it kind of rubs off on guys." That could help the Blue Jackets finally win on the road. Besides going 0-4-0 outside of Ohio this season, they lost their final five road games of 2010-11 - part of a 2-10-4 stretch away from home. In their most recent road game Saturday at Ottawa, Columbus led in the final minute of the third period before allowing two quick goals to lose 4-3 in regulation. Buffalo (5-3-0) won 5-0 when hosting the Blue Jackets last season but is still looking for its first true home win this fall. The Sabres were officially the home team for their 4-1 victory over Anaheim in Helsinki, but they've dropped their first two at the First Niagara Center. Thomas Vanek's seventh goal and Brad Boyes' first put them ahead 2-0 in the first 2:31 on Tuesday against Tampa Bay, but the Sabres squandered the lead by the end of the first period and lost 4-3 for their second defeat to the Lightning in four days. "We all have to get better," goalie Ryan Miller said. "We can't get rattled, and we have to keep going." Miller is 0-2-0 with a 4.07 goals-against average in Buffalo and 4-1-0 with a 1.20 GAA elsewhere. The Sabres are in the midst of a five-game homestand. Mason, meanwhile, has never played in western New York. His two home starts against the Sabres produced vastly different results - a 28-save shutout Feb. 26, 2010, and a 5-4 loss in the teams' most recent meeting April 9.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Rockets have 'serious chance' at landing Chris Paul

MotoGP qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix saw three frightening crashes Saturday

Report: Knicks attempted to move Joakim Noah with Kristaps Porzingis

Hornets GM mistakenly introduces Dwayne Bacon as Dwyane Wade

Three A's players knock first MLB homers in the same game

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Cuban-American businessman emerges as potential Marlins buyer

Charles Oakley: Kristaps Porzingis was ‘wrong’ to skip exit meeting

Ranking the toughest divisions in the NFL

Sixers already looking to extend Joel Embiid

WATCH: Klay Thompson fails miserably attempting a 360 dunk

Jays closer Roberto Osuna says he’s dealing with anxiety

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

Box Score 6/23: Philly continues to trust the process

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Gary Payton Award for best trash talk of the year

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker