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Prediction: Columbus Blue Jackets vs Buffalo Sabres (10/27/11)

It wasn’t a complete coincidence the Blue Jackets lost the first 8 games of the season with out James Wisniewski. After serving his suspension, the Jackets finally won their first game of the season with Wisniewki in the lineup.

The defenseman now looks to help Columbus notch its first road win in more than seven months Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres.

Acquired from Montreal and signed to a six year, $33 million deal this summer, Wisniewski had to watch the entire season opening skid from afar, having been suspended for a preseason hit to the head of Minnesota forward Cal Clutterbuck.

He returned to log more than 27 minutes of ice time, the most of any skater, in his Columbus debut, giving the Blue Jackets (1-7-1) a presence they lacked on the blue line throughout their losing streak.

Buffalo (5-3-0) won 5-0 when hosting the Blue Jackets last season but is still looking for its first true home win this fall. The Sabres were officially the home team for their 4-1 victory over Anaheim in Helsinki, but they’ve dropped their first two at the First Niagara Center.

Ryan Miller is 0-2-0 with a 4.07 goals-against average in Buffalo and 4-1-0 with a 1.20 GAA elsewhere. The Sabres are in the midst of a five-game home stand.

Mason, meanwhile, has never played in western New York. His two home starts against the Sabres produced vastly different results a 28 save shutout Feb. 26, 2010, and a 5-4 loss in the teams’ most recent meeting April 9.

STARTING GOALIES:

Columbus Blue Jackets – Steve Mason

Buffalo Sabres – Jhonas Enroth

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