The Blue Jackets, who had lost five of their previous seven games, came into the third trailing 2-1. They improved to just 3-22 when down through two periods. The Sabres, cheered by thousands of fans who made the trip, fell to 24-2-2 when on top after two.
Manny Malhotra centred a pass to Rostislav Klesla, who was trailing the play and blasted a high shot past Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller that tied the score at 5:22 of the third.
Columbus, completely outplayed in the middle period, then took the lead when Malhotra’s pass was deflected but ended up on the stick of Jason Chimera. Chimera’s shot was stopped by Miller, but Fritsche was at the goal mouth to jam at it. Miller stopped the first with his stick but the second got by him for Fritsche’s 10th goal.
Chris Drury had both Buffalo goals, with Daniel Briere, just back from being named MVP of the all-star game, adding two assists.
Fredrik Norrena had 36 saves for the Blue Jackets.
Rick Nash had the other Columbus goal, while Chimera and Malhotra each had two assists.