Familiar emptiness for Sabres fans after bad loss against lowly Blue Jackets

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — KeyBank Center began emptying well before Columbus Blue Jackets concluded their 9-4 drubbing of the Sabres on Tuesday night. Before that, a flurry of boos filled the arena throughout the home team’s demoralizing defeat against one of the few NHL opponents with a worst record this season.

A second straight loss deflated the Sabres’ record to 13-17-3, closer to the cellar-dwelling Blue Jackets (11-17-5) than playoff contention, with four fewer wins than a year ago at this time. Buffalo’s fans voiced their displeasure in the events of the evening, a familiar refrain in the 13th year of the longest postseason drought in NHL history.

Rasmus Dahlin got the opening goal 30 seconds into the contest, but Blue Jackets scored the next seven in skating to the easy win. Goals from Kyle Okposo, Tage Thompson and Dylan Cozens slimmed the final margin, but after the Sabres were jeered by the home fans for getting badly out-shot in each of the first two periods, and starting goaltender Devon Levi was replaced by Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen before the game was half over.

Levi stopped 14 of the 18 shots he faced before getting chased at 7:27 into the second period, struggling after a string of strong starts since the rookie was recalled from the minor leagues, and Luukkonen let in three goals before making the first of his 10 saves.

While forward Jack Quinn made his season debut for the Sabres, returning from a torn Achilles in the offseason, top-line winger Alex Tuch left the game late in the second period after taking a shot to the face.

The Sabres host their rival Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.


Jonah Bronstein joined the WIVB squad in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. The Buffalonian has covered the Bills, Sabres, Bandits, Bisons, colleges, high schools and other notable sporting events in Western New York since 2005, for publications including The Associated Press, The Buffalo News, and Niagara Gazette. Read more of his work here.

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