Steve Mason stopped 20 shots for Columbus. Buffalo goalie Jocelyn Thibault, the Sabres' lone free-agent signing of the offseason, made 18 saves.
Russell and Brule scored power-play goals 25 seconds apart in the second period to give the Blue Jackets a 2-0 lead. Columbus started the second period with a two-man advantage carried over from the first period, and Russell scored 49 seconds in on a deflection. Brule then snapped in a shot from the left faceoff circle with 1 second remaining in the power play.
Nash scored six minutes into the third, backhanding in a loose puck after Thibault stopped Rostislav Klesla on a backhand shot. Brule netted his second of the night six minutes later on a tip-in.