Blue Jackets try to stay hot vs. Sabres

( - The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to continue their impressive late-season surge when they host the Buffalo Sabres in Friday's game at Nationwide Arena.

The Blue Jackets will miss the playoffs, but have been one of the best teams in the league over the last month, going 13-1-1 in the last 15 games. The stretch includes a club-record nine-game winning streak which was snapped Monday in a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers.

Columbus rebounded from the road setback against the Rangers with Wednesday's 5-0 rout of the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs. The Jackets scored three times in the opening period and twice more in the second to cruise to the victory.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 35 saves to anchor the win, while Scott Hartnell led the offense with a goal and an assist.

Ryan Murray scored in his return to the lineup and Boone Jenner, Jeremy Morin and Artem Anisimov also lit the lamp for the Blue Jackets, who extended their point streak to 11 games (10-0-1).

Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky pushed his point streak to a career- high six games with two assists

"It's a good feeling any time you win in this league," Columbus head coach Todd Richards said. "There are a lot of things to feel good about."

Murray was playing for the first time since March 18 when he injured his ankle for the second time this season. The 21-year-old defenseman has played in only 11 games during an injury-plagued campaign.

Columbus has won five straight on home ice, but is still only 18-20-2 at Nationwide Arena this season. Friday's game is the club's home finale and it will complete 2014-15 tomorrow night against the New York Islanders.

Buffalo has only 54 points on the season and is last in the NHL standings. The Sabres are two points behind Arizona for the league's worst record. The Coyotes only have one left -- Saturday's home game against Anaheim -- while the Sabres will play tonight before hosting Pittsburgh to close the season on Saturday.

The NHL's last-place club will have the best odds of winning the draft lottery and the No. 1 overall selection.

The Sabres have won three of their last five games and are coming off Monday's 4-3 home decision over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Brian Gionta, Johan Larsson and Tyler Ennis each had one goal and an assist in the Buffalo's victory over the Hurricanes. Mikhail Grigorenko also lit the lamp for the Sabres, while Anders Lindback made 49 saves for the win.

Lindback, who was acquired in a trade with Dallas in February, has won three of his last four decisions and is now 4-6-2 with a 2.79 goals against average in 14 games with Buffalo. He also is sporting a solid .923 save percentage since joining the Sabres.

"[Goaltending coach Arturs Irbe] has done a tremendous job and from the first time we'd seen Lindback come in here for the first practice, we didn't know what quite we had," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "But slowly, he got better, he got his confidence going.

"I'm a big strong believer that you give anybody confidence and you give them some instruction and direction and they'll get better. Certainly that's happened."

Buffalo is playing its road finale tonight before hosting Pittsburgh tomorrow on the final day of the season. The Sabres are 9-28-3 as the visiting club.

Columbus has claimed four of the past six meetings against the Sabres, but Buffalo has won two of three. The Sabres also have taken two in a row and three of four at Nationwide Arena.