Sabres in Columbus trying to build on last seven games

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will get his third-straight start in goal

Columbus, Ohio (WGR 550) – The Buffalo Sabres are 4-2-1 since their eight-game losing streak. They’re in Columbus on Wednesday to face the Blue Jackets, and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will play in his third-straight game.

Since being recalled from the Rochester Americans on Nov. 17, Luukkonen has played three out of four games, and five out of eight.

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Luukkonen had a shaky first period Sunday against the San Jose Sharks, but seemed to settle in pretty well for the final 40 minutes. Overall, the 23-year-old is 2-2-1 this season with a 3.98 goals-against average and an .863 save percentage.

Vinnie Hinostroza and Ilya Lyubushkin are still injured and won’t play in this game. Rasmus Asplund will, again, be a healthy scratch.

When I asked head coach Don Granato after the morning skate about the makeup of his lineup, he said it’s simply there aren’t any players right now he wants to take out.

Buffalo is 4-3-3 in its last 10 games against the Blue Jackets.

Tage Thompson is eighth in league scoring with 34 points in 25 games. Rasmus Dahlin’s 29 points has him 21st overall, tied with former Sabres captain Jack Eichel. Thompson has eight points in his last four games, while Dahlin has six points in four games.

Jack Quinn and JJ Peterka are fourth in NHL rookie scoring with 14 points. That’s seven points back of Matty Beniers of the Seattle Kraken. Quinn has nine points in his last eight games, while Peterka has six points in his last seven.

Jeff Skinner has seven goals and 13 points in his last seven games, while Alex Tuch has 13 points in his last 10 games.

Despite picking up nine out of 14 points, the Sabres are still 25th overall in the league with a points percentage of .460.

Buffalo is second in league scoring, averaging 3.80 goals per-game. They’re 28th defensively at 3.68 goals-against per-game.

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Columbus was in Pittsburgh on Tuesday and lost to the Penguins, 4-1. The Blue Jackets have just one win in their last six games.

Joonas Korpisalo will be in goal for the Blue Jackets on Wednesday. He’s 4-5-1 this season with a 3.51 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage. In his last five starts, Korpisalo was 1-4-0 with a 3.28 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage.

Johnny Gaudreau was the unrestricted free agent prize from last summer in the NHL. He is, by far, the Blue Jackets' leading scorer with 27 points in 24 games.

Rookie Kent Johnson played with Owen Power last season with the University of Michigan Wolverines. Johnson has six goals and seven assists for 13 points in 21 games. Johnson was the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. Power was first overall, while Beniers was another teammate and went second overall to Seattle.

Cole Sillinger went 12th overall in that class and has already played 103 NHL games, scoring 18 goals and 18 assists for 36 points.

Columbus also had the 25th overall pick in the 2021 draft, taking Corson Ceulemans. The defenseman is a sophomore with the University of Wisconsin Badgers.

Join Schopp and the Bulldog for pregame coverage on WGR starting at 6:30 p.m. EST when you’ll hear from Granato, Skinner and Dylan Cozens.

Photo credit Losi and Gangi
Featured Image Photo Credit: Aaron Doster - USA TODAY Sports