The Black and Blue Jackets
They may be 1-7-1, but the Columbus Blue Jackets lose with a bang.
Robyn Regehr currently leads the Sabres with what most Buffalo fans consider to be a head-turning 21 hits. It’s a good number, but it would only be good enough for 3rd on the Jackets’ roster (Columbus has played one more game than the Sabres). Even Pat Kaleta would be barely clinging to 5th place on the Columbus roster in the hits category, and that’s saying something.
Here’s the alarming comparison, in our hastily put together stat-infograph (click to resize):
The Jackets aren’t simply throwing their bodies around willy-nilly, either. Dorsett has a healthy 16 PIM’s to go with his 23 hits, but as for the rest of the team, they simply hit hard and smart: the rest of the guys on this roster have one or two minor penalties to accompany their hits.
No game in the NHL is truly a gimme, and this contest is shaping up to be a good test. The Sabres should be and are expected to outscore and skate off with a W tonight, but Buffalo’s new-found physicality and size will be pushed to the limits. Just how well the Sabres can protect the blue paint and survive a forecheck could turn this game around in just a shift or two.
Regehr’s got his mitts full tonight.
Watch for the Sabres to send a message (Thundersticks) early. When all is said and done, we should have a good idea of just how tough we are after this one.
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