Great comeback or squandered opportunity? Blue Jackets cough up early lead in loss to Sabres

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Franchise history for the Columbus Blue Jackets will have to wait another day.

After a terrific start against the Sabres on Saturday, working up a three-goal lead after the first period and forcing Robin Lehner off the bench and into the net, the Blue Jackets gave up five unanswered goals and Buffalo came all the way back for a 5-3 win.

The Blue Jackets need just one more win to set a new franchise record for most victories in a single season. With 67 games played, it will happen. But this opportunity was squandered versus the Sabres.

Jake McCabe scored 18 seconds into the second period, getting the Sabres on the board. Before the end of the period, they had tied the game at three goals apiece, thanks to a late equalizer from Sam Reinhart.

“We’re out there and you give them life,” said Nick Foligno, per NHL.com. “You go into the period and then they start to push a little bit, (and we) give them a goal right away. It allowed them back in the game and then they got hungry and got momentum off that and we never seemed to have an answer for it in the second.”

There is injury concern now for Columbus.

Defenseman Ryan Murray left the game with an upper-body injury and didn’t return after just 1:44 of ice time in the first period, however coach John Tortorella didn’t have an update afterward. Meanwhile, Cam Atkinson left this game after he was cut by the skate of Marcus Foligno while down on the ice along the boards.

Atkinson did return to the game, but only after receiving 17 stitches to his shoulder, per the Columbus Dispatch.

“I definitely have a couple of guardian angels looking out for me,” said Atkinson. “I got a skate to the face a couple of years ago and it didn’t touch my eye. This, it could have been my neck, it could have been other damage, nerve damage. I’ve got to just count my lucky stars.”