It didn't take long for the Sabres to take the air out of Nationwide Arena in Wednesday's game against the Blue Jackets. The Sabres raced to a 6-0 lead after only 20 minutes of play, and Tage Thompson led the scoring barrage with four goals to tie an NHL record for the most in a first period.
Thompson got the scoring started early, joining Rasmus Dahlin in assisting on a Dylan Cozens goal at 3:21 of the first period. Less than two minutes later, Thompson scored his first goal of the night, and he proceeded to record three more within a 10-minute span before the period mercifully closed for Columbus. Thompson joined rarified air with his historic start: He became the fourth player in NHL history to tally four goals in the first period, a group including Peter Bondra (1994), Grant Mulvey (1982) and Joe Malone (1921).
The Sabres would keep the momentum going through the remaining two periods, winning 9-4 while producing their highest-scoring output since a Nov. 3, 2018 contest against Ottawa. Thompson scored a fifth goal in the big win at 16:07 in the second period, making him the second player in Sabres history with five goals in a game (Dave Andreychuk was the first in 1986) and also tying him for second in NHL history in goals in a road game.
Both teams came into Wednesday's game looking to turn their seasons around after disappointing starts. The Sabres had ranked seventh in the Atlantic Division and lost 11 of their past 16 games. Columbus also came in as cold as it had lost five of six and ranked dead last in the Metropolitan Division.