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

Top 10 takeaways from Super Bowl 50

Was firing Jeff Hornacek the wrong move for the Suns?

Panthers picked wrong day to play worst game of the season

Was Peyton Manning paid for Budweiser mentions?

Cam Newton walks out of postgame press conference

Eli did not look thrilled after Peyton locked up Super Bowl

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rick Reilly sends awkward tweet during Super Bowl 50

Peyton Manning gives Papa John a kiss after game

Panthers' Josh Norman crying after losing Super Bowl

Peyton Manning ‘going to drink a lot of Budweiser’ after win

Where Peyton Manning ranks among Super Bowl era QBs

Peyton Manning declines to comment on possible retirement

Winners and losers from Super Bowl 50

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Aqib Talib wipes out on NFL Network

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Five biggest boneheaded plays of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Cam Newton gives questionable effort to recover fumble

Lions say Calvin Johnson's future still not determined

How Louisville basketball bungled their self-imposed ban

Ted Ginn Jr. whiffs on football twice on one play, results in Panthers turnover

Kony Ealy makes one-handed interception of Peyton Manning

Mike Carey gets another call wrong on incomplete pass in SB

Steph Curry beats Panthers' "Keep Pounding" drum

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

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

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

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