For most of the night, this game was an eye sore.
It was choppy, messy and suffered from a rhythm allergy. And then it got some spark.
The Blue Jackets have been trying to rid themselves of habitual slow starts, but tonight wasn't the night for an elixir. They weathered and early buzz from the Sabres and survived a bland opening period with no damage done.
In the second period, they found their footing and found their game – and they were able to push the Sabres back and take control of the game. They were clearly the better team at 5-on-5, and the lead goal from Pierre-Luc Dubois was born from hard work below the goal line.
The third period was Columbus' best. They didn't sit back and nurse their lead; instead, they attacked and scored two more midway through the third to build a 3-0 lead. Artemi Panarin scored a goal in his second straight game (he has goals in three of his last five overall), and Boone Jenner chipped in the third Columbus goal.
Sergei Bobrovsky kept a clean sheet until 10:49 of the third period (13 seconds after the Jenner goal) when Sam Reinhart redirected a point shot into the net. Then it was a goal by Evander Kane with under four minutes to play, making it 3-2, and the air came out of the Blue Jackets.
Add to the drama: a penalty to Seth Jones (questionable, at best) with 1:55 left to inject life into the Sabres. They had chances, but the Blue Jackets killed it off and bagged their fourth straight win.
Lukas Sedlak (ankle) joined the Blue Jackets for the trip to Buffalo after partaking in Sunday's practice. He remains day-to-day but appears close to a return.
The Blue Jackets return home to Nationwide Arena for a pair of games wrapped around Thanksgiving. They'll take on the Calgary Flames on Wednesday before a Friday night date with the Ottawa Senators.