Welcome back to The Warmup.
Here, you'll get everything you need to know – including keys to the game, where to watch and listen, and more – before the Blue Jackets and Sabres meet for the first time this season on Monday night at KeyBank Center.
The Blue Jackets coughed one up on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena–there's no other way to put it. After taking a 2-0 lead in the first period, the Vegas Golden Knights took over the game. Columbus went nearly half of the third period before registering a shot against Laurent Brossoit. The end result was a 3-2 loss, and one that felt (rightfully so) as though it got away.
Where to watch, listen and stream tonight's game...
WHO: Blue Jackets (9-6-0) vs. Sabres (7-8-2)
WHERE: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, NY
WHEN: 7 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports Columbus (Jeff Rimer, Jody Shelley)
RADIO: 105.7 FM (Bob McElligott, Dylan Tyrer)
STREAM: ESPN+ (out of market only)
Perhaps a bit of a surprise, but the Blue Jackets have been a solid road team in the early part of 2021-22. They won in Arizona–a nail-biter, nonetheless–and should have earned at least a point Saturday night. Columbus has another chance to win two of three on a road trip when they visit the Sabres tonight.
Now's the time for the Blue Jackets to jump the Sabres, who lost a heartbreaker on Sunday at Madison Square Garden, yielding the game-winning goal to the Rangers with less than a second remaining in regulation. It was a gut punch for Buffalo. After a strong start, the Sabres have slipped in the last few weeks, but they're still an up-and-coming team that can score goals.
ALL-TIME: The Blue Jackets are 20-12-3 in 35 regular-season meetings with the Sabres, including a 10-7-2 record on the road. The Blue Jackets have earned points in the last four meetings (2-0-2) against Buffalo, and 10 of the past 13 games of the series dating back to Apr. 8, 2016 (8-3-2).
KEYS TO THE GAME
What do the Blue Jackets need to do to win tonight? We're glad you asked.
- Right Back at It: Both teams are coming off tough results, but the Sabres had to fly home last night with the weight of a last-second heartbreaker on their minds. Does that favor the Blue Jackets, who had a day off Sunday, or the Sabres? You'd think Columbus is in a good spot to start quickly and dictate the game.
- Support Your Goalie: While Elvis Merzlikins has gotten the bulk of the workload so far, Joonas Korpisalo hasn't exactly been awful, either. What he's suffered from, among other things, is a lack of defensive support; some of Columbus' worst defensive efforts this season have come with Korpisalo in net. That's something to look at when the puck drops tonight.
- Head Home with 2: Whatever it takes tonight, just find a way. Many of the Blue Jackets' nine wins in their first 15 games haven't been masterpieces, but they've shown they can control a game or rally for a goal or two when they need. Tonight, the focus has to be on heading back to Columbus with two points to generate some momentum heading into a busy four-game week, including two games at Nationwide Arena against Western Conference opponents.
From Zach Werenski...