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Friday, October 2, 2015
Sabres rookie Jack Eichel takes the opening faceoff against William Karlsson of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Eichel and the Sabres fell to the Ohio team 6-4. (PHOTOS BY SCOTT LEFFLER / ENP STAFF)

By +Scott Leffler 
scott.leffler@eastniagarapost.com


BUFFALO — A near-capacity crowd at First Niagara Center grew weary as their Buffalo Sabres continued to give up goals to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second period.

Sabres forward Matt Moulson stands in front of the Columbus net waiting
for a puck to tip. 
At 4-0, the crowd chant of "we like Eichel" had been drown out by a steady stream of boos. When the second period ended with the Sabres down 5-0, some of the faithful headed for the exits — and they missed the best 20 minutes of the game as the Sabres remembered in the third period that they could not only shoot the puck (they had just 10 shots through 40 minutes of hockey) but score on those shots, as well.

Buffalo's first goal came on the power play as Jamie McGinn deflected a Matt Moulson shot past Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Curtis McElhinney at 4:14 of the third period. Ryan O'Reilly assisted on the goal. Zemgus Girgensons made it 5-2 just 46 seconds later with a slapshot, assisted by Sam Reinhart and Carlo Colaiacovo.

The Sabres starting lineup stands still for the American National Anthem.
At 12:01 of the third, McGinn tallied another goal, this one deflected from a Mark Pysyk shot. David Legwand got an assist on the goal as well. And just over a minute later, Evander Kane made it 5-4 with a wrist shot, assisted by Jack Eichel and Brian Gionta.

Unfortunately for the home crowd, that was as close as the Sabres could get. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored an empty netter at 18:41, making it a 6-4 final.

Sabres Head Coach Dan Bylsma said the way his team played in the last period — and the last few minutes of the second period — is how they need to play all the time. "You look at the last 25 minutes and look at 22 shots in that time frame ... that's how we need to play."

The Sabres ended up out-shooting Columbus 28-26. They finished the pre-season with four wins and three losses. They open the regular season Thursday at home against the Ottawa Senators.

NOTES: 

  • Buffalo's top nine scorers in the preseason finished with a point per game or better: Eichel (4GP, 2+4), Ennis (4 GP, 3+2), Reinhart (5 GP, 0+5), Kane (4 GP, 4+0), Deslauriers (4 GP, 2+2), Girgensons (4 GP, 2+2), Gionta (4 GP, 1+3), O'Reilly (4 GP, 1+3), Pysyk (4 GP, 1+3)
  • With a power play goal tonight, the Sabres ended the game in sole possession of the league lead with 10 special-teams goals in the preseason (five power play, five shorthanded).
  • The Sabres released eight players from their training camp roster prior to tonight's game: Forwards William Carrier, Matt Ellis, Patrick Kaleta, Evan Rodrigues and Tim Schaller; defensemen Jerome Leduc and Chad Ruhwedel; goaltender Nathan Lieuwen.
  • Tonight's Attendance: 17,578




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