The win came a month to the day since Buffalo's last victory,
ending an 0-9-2-1 streak, which matched a franchise record.
The Blue Jackets made it close as David Vyborny and Lasse
Pirjeta scored 2:39 apart to make it 5-4 with 3:22 remaining.
Columbus, however, failed to manage a shot the rest of the way
despite pulling its goalie in the final minute.
Ray Whitney scored a short-handed goal and Derrick Walser also
scored for the Blue Jackets, who have managed just one win in eight
road games. The loss was also Columbus' first against Buffalo in
its three-year history, ending a 3-0-1 string.
The Blue Jackets' strong finish couldn't make up for their poor
"We came out flat,'' Columbus forward Geoff Sanderson said.
"You come into a rink like this when a team hasn't won, you know
they're going to come out hard in the first 10 minutes. But if you
can counter that, get on top of that early and get them thinking,
'Here we go again.' Then you've got a huge advantage.
"And we didn't put that in their head until late in the game.''
The Blue Jackets turnaround came as the lights inexplicably
flickered at HSBC Arena, delaying the game only briefly.
"Gee, they don't even want us to win a game, the power's going
out,'' Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said, recalling his thoughts at the
time. "But it was a huge load off us. We made a few mistakes down
the stretch, but overall it was sound game.''
The Sabres never trailed after Pyatt staked them to a 2-0 lead
by the 2:35 mark of the second period, wrapping in a rebound behind
Columbus' Marc Denis during a delayed penalty.
Buffalo appeared in full control when Varada and Patrick scored
goals 1:51 apart, putting Buffalo ahead 5-2 lead with 7:40
The game was Buffalo's first since the NHL gave conditional
approval Wednesday to Buffalo businessman Mark Hamister and Todd
Berman's joint bid to purchase the financially troubled Sabres.
The two must now await NHL board of governor approval which, if
all goes well, is expected to come early next year.
Hamister received a standing ovation when he was introduced and
pictured on the center-ice video scoreboard, shaking hands with
fans in the stands during a first-period break.
Miller, who made his NHL debut in Tuesday's 4-3 overtime
loss at New Jersey, made his second consecutive start after Buffalo
demoted backup Mika Noronen to Rochester, the team's minor league
affiliate. ... In preparing plans to market the Sabres, Hamister
hasn't ruled out bringing back Buffalo's old blue and gold
uniforms, which remain popular among the team's fans. The Sabres
switched to their current black, white and red colors in 1996. Any
change would require league approval. ... Whitney's goal was
Columbus' fifth short-handed of the season, one short of the Blue
Jackets' total in their first two seasons of existence.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: First Niagara Center Location: Buffalo, New York
Referees: Chris Rooney, Kelly Sutherland Linesmen: Wayne Bonney, Pierre Champoux
Attendance: 15,711 (84.1% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Taylor Pyatt (4)
Assists: Adam Mair, Miroslav Satan
Taylor Pyatt (5)
Assists: Alexei Zhitnik, Vaclav Varada
Ray Whitney (7)
(Shorthanded) Assist: Mike Sillinger
Miroslav Satan (5)
Assists: Stu Barnes, James Patrick
Derrick Walser (3)
Assists: Geoff Sanderson, Mike Sillinger
Vaclav Varada (3)
Assists: Rhett Warrener, Adam Mair
James Patrick (1)
Assist: Stu Barnes
David Vyborny (3)
Assists: Grant Marshall, Rostislav Klesla
Lasse Pirjeta (1)
Assists: David Vyborny, Hannes Hyvonen