Sabres-Blue Jackets Preview

BY foxsports • February 18, 2016

Evander Kane is sorry for another questionable episode in his seven-year career. Whether that's enough for the Buffalo Sabres to lift his suspension remains to be seen.

Kane hopes to be on the ice when the Sabres try to avoid equaling a season high with a fourth straight road defeat Friday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, who look to extend their longest point streak of 2015-16.

One off the team lead with 16 goals, Kane was suspended by the club for Tuesday's 2-1 shootout loss at Ottawa because he missed Monday's practice after attending the NBA All-Star Game in Toronto a night earlier. The 24-year-old reportedly made matters worse by posting some of his evening's escapades on social media.

"First and foremost I want to apologize to my teammates for letting them down," Kane said. "There were some things (last) weekend that shouldn't have happened. They won't be happening again.

"(Myself and the organization are) on the same page moving forward. I'm happy with that and looking forward to putting this behind me and getting back on the ice."

Kane, who had problems on social media and often clashed with then-coach Claude Noel in Winnipeg, also remains the subject of an alleged December sex offense investigation in Buffalo.

Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said he's handling Kane's recent issue the same he would any other player.

"He's on the same leash everybody else is," Bylsma told the NHL's official website. "We have rules and he broke those rules and he's going to deal with those consequences."

Kane, who has eight goals in 13 games and four in the last four, was missed Tuesday. The Sabres (23-28-7) recorded 39 shots but managed only Matt Moulson's first goal in 45 games after they scored 10 in back-to-back home wins over Montreal and Colorado.

"(Kane is) a big part of this team and he brings a lot to the table on the ice," teammate Brian Gionta said.

Buffalo has earned at least one point in seven of nine but managed one goal apiece during an 0-1-2 road stretch.

The Sabres are 2 for 23 on the power play in seven overall, but went 3 for 7 during a 4-2 home victory over Columbus (23-28-7) on Oct. 12. Moulson had a goal with two assists and Kane recorded an assist in Buffalo's first victory of the season.

Though Columbus coach John Tortorella felt his club allowed an easy overtime goal in Tuesday's 2-1 home loss to Boston, he's been generally pleased during its 4-0-2 stretch.

"I just think we're playing with confidence," he told the team's official website. "We've just got to keep on growing from there."

Columbus has allowed 11 non-shootout goals in the last six games, during which rookie Joonas Korpisalo has a 1.76 goals-against average in starting each. Though veteran Curtis McElhinney has been activated from an ankle injury that's kept him out since Jan. 2, Korpisalo could remain the No. 1 option with Sergei Bobrovsky (lower body) still sidelined.

"With the goaltending situation, we want to win, and we're going to win if we have our best goalie in there," Tortorella said.

All of Alexander Wennberg's eight points at home this season have come in his last 11 at Nationwide Arena.

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