Well, OK, it's Buffalo, not New York City, but it's still New York and it is a frigid Saturday night. The SNL analogy seems particularly appropriate tonight, as just over 19,000 souls, including several dozen Blue Jackets fans bussed in for the occasion, witnessed a hockey game that reached comic proportions in turnovers, miscues and trashed opportunities.

Think Abbott & Costello Meet Slap Shot, and you'll get the general idea. Still, when the laughing stopped, the Blue Jackets had a shootout victory, a six-pack of consecutive wins (the longest current streak in the NHL) and fllew back to Columbus as the holders of the 2nd wild card slot in the Eastern Conference. It wasn't easy.

Entering this contest, you could sense some trepidation among the fan base. Things just seemed set up for a fall -- 5 consecutive wins, including the mauling of the Capitals last night -- a back-to-back game on the road against a club with a Herculean grasp on the cellar in the Eastern Conference . . . you get the idea. At the beginning, the Blue Jackets did everything in their power to validate those fears.

Columbus won the opening face-off, promptly surrendered the puck in the offensive zone, and allowed Buffalo to set up camp in the Blue Jackets' zone, Aided by several defensive turnovers and an overall preference for reaching, rather than skating.

While the Blue Jackets fumbled the puck along the boards, Tyler Myers glided down the right edge of the slot unmolested, received the puck on the tape, and beat Sergei Bobrovsky to the far side from point-blank range just 59 seconds into the game. That energized an otherwise tepid home crowd, and raised more than a few eyebrows among the Jacket Backers faithful.

To avoid repetition, the Blue Jackets' play throughout the contest was characterized by a few consistent themes. First, as noted above, they appeared to be wearing concrete skates in their own zone, providing alarming degrees of time and space to Buffalo. When they did get their sticks on the puck, they made ill-conceived passes or simply turned the puck over.

Fortunately Buffalo was so intent on creating offensive pressure with speed and pinching defense, it created opportunities in the other direction. While Columbus showed a greater ability to skate in the offensive zone, the passing was still ragged and some prime chances were wasted.