(SportsNetwork.com) - The Buffalo Sabres will try once more to post their
first win of the 2013-14 season when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets in
Thursday's battle at First Niagara Center.
The Sabres are winless through four games (0-3-1) but Buffalo did manage to
earn its first point of the season in the club's last game, a 3-2 overtime
loss against visiting Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
The Sabres held a 2-1 lead heading into the third period of Tuesday's game.
However, a controversial call not only nullified a goal by Buffalo's Thomas
Vanek early in the third period, but also resulted in a high-stick penalty
that led to a game-tying, power-play goal by Tampa's Teddy Purcell.
"I tipped it in, and the next thing I know he's waving it off and pointing at
me that I got 2 minutes," Vanek said. "I just thought he was wrong, but it
doesn't matter. Me yelling and screaming at him is just going to get him mad
and get them more power plays."
The Lightning would later win it on Alex Killorn's goal at 1:50 of overtime.
Killorn corralled a loose puck on the left side of the net, skated around to
the right and lifted one over Jhonas Enroth's glove to provide the game
Jamie McBain and Cody Hodgson each scored a goal for the Sabres, who have
opened the season with four straight losses for the first time in franchise
history. The last time Buffalo went this far into a season without a win was
at the start of the 1999-2000 campaign, when the Sabres began 0-5 with two
Enroth made Tuesday's start in place of injured No. 1 goaltender Ryan Miller
and he stopped 32 shots in defeat. Miller, who did not suit up for the last
game, is currently dealing with a groin injury. He did return to practice on
Wednesday and is questionable for tonight's contest.
While the Sabres aim for their first win of the season on Thursday, Columbus
will try to post consecutive wins for the first time. The Blue Jackets began
the season with a 4-3 regulation loss to visiting Calgary before earning a
road shootout win against the New York Islanders.
Columbus should be well rested heading into tonight's game considering the
club hasn't played since Saturday's 3-2 win over the Islanders.
Cam Atkinson scored in the fourth round of the shootout to lift the Blue
Jackets to the win on Long Island.
Nick Foligno and Mark Letestu scored in the third period for the Blue Jackets,
while reigning Vezina trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 28-of-30 shots to
earn the win.
"We didn't play Columbus Blue Jacket hockey (Friday)," Foligno said. "Tonight
we did. We played hard and we played the way we expect to play each and every
night and we got rewarded for it."
Columbus halted a three-game slide against the Sabres with a 5-1 home win in
the last meeting between the clubs on Nov. 25, 2011. The Sabres have claimed
two in a row and four of the last six encounters in Buffalo.
The Sports Network