The Blues would welcome the Buffalo Sabres to Scottrade Tuesday night, one game after getting their season best seven game winning streak snapped against the Nashville Predators. The Blues come into the game sitting in second place in the Central Division with 19 points. The Sabres, on the other hand, are dead last in the NHL with only eight points on the season. Brian Elliott, who was sporting a special Veterans Day mask, was in net tonight for the Blues.
With just under five minutes passed in the first period, The Blues got their first power play opportunity of the evening thanks to a holding penalty against Tyler Myers. St Louis was only able to reel off one shot during the advantage.
Shortly after the Sabres killed their first penalty, they gave the Blues another shot at it, as Mike Weber tripped Jaden Schwartz for a two minute minor. For the second time in as many chances, the Blues were only good for one shot while having a one-man advantage.
With 2:52 remaining in the first period, the Blues would get a three-on-two chance into the offensive zone. Jaden Schwartz carried the puck along the boards on the left side, dished the puck to Vladimir Tarasenko in the high-slot, who dropped it behind to line-mate Jori Lehtera. Lehtera wristed one from the high slot for his fourth goal of the season, giving the Blues a 1-0 lead. The assist extended the point-streak of Tarasenko to six games.
Brian Elliott was on fire in the first frame, denying all 15 shots attempted by the Buffalo offense.
With only 3:21 passed in the second, Jori Lehtera and Vladimir Tarasenko did it again. Lehtera led Vladi into the slot, Vladi touched it back to Jori, who beat goalie Michal Neuvirth for the second time in the contest. Tarasenko and Schwartz were both credited with their second assists in the game.
With under seven minutes to go in the second period, Tyler Ennis wristed a shot that missed wide and Ian Cole shoved him hard into the boards and things got ugly. Ennis picked himself off the ice and went after Cole, but was instead greeted by Alex Steen. Steen wrapped up Ennis and landed several shots to the face. Nikita Zadorov tied up with Cole. Both players landed a few blows before falling to the ice. Zadorov and Ennis were both slapped with five minute majors for Buffalo. Steen and Cole both served five minute majors for the Blues. Magnus Paajarvi would serve a two minute minor for Ian Cole’s roughing penalty that started the whole scrum.
This would give the Sabres their first power play of the night. Buffalo’s power play unit is the worst in the league, having an eye-popping four percent success rate coming into tonight’s game. Being short-handed wouldn’t slow down the Blues. Jaden Schwartz stole the puck and carried it up ice, danced around Buffalo’s Tyler Myers and found Jori Lehtera with a centering pass in the slot. Lehtera buried his third goal of the night, recording his first career hat trick and giving the Blues a 3-0 lead.
The third period started with another brawl. Cody McCormick got in the face of Alex Steen and retaliated for the earlier fight. Carl Gunnarsson locked horns with former Blues’ forward Chris Stewart. All four players were sent to the penalty box with minors, but Steen would be hit with a double-minor, giving the Sabres another one-man advantage.
A minute into the power play, the Sabres would get on the board. Matt Moulson dropped a nice pass in front of the crease to Tyler Ennis for Ennis’ fifth goal of the season. The score was now 3-1 in favor of the Blues.
With 14:40 to go in regulation, the Blues were on the attack. Alex Steen went hard at the net after his own rebound when Mike Weber hit him from behind, knocking Steen into the goal post. Weber would be hit with a two minute minor and the Blues were on the power play. Shortly after the Sabres killed the power play, Steve Ott was called for holding, giving the Sabres another power play opportunity.
As time was winding down on the Sabres’ power play, Alex Pietrangelo was blind-sided from behind by Cody Hodgson into the goal. Hodgson was called for interference. Kevin Shattenkirk threw down Brian Gionta a few seconds later, but no penalty was called.
With 5:42 on the clock, Buffalo forward Nicolas Deslauriers speared Vladimir Tarasenko and was ejected from the game, putting the Blues on another power play. With 3:22 to go in regulation, Alex Steen found a wide open Kevin Shattenkirk for a one-timer. The shot glanced off David Backes and found the back of the net. The goal would be Backes’ fourth of the season.
Just over a minute later, Joakim Lindstrom joined the party. Alex Steen hit a cutting Lindstrom in the high slot that set up a nice look for Lindstrom. The goal was Lindstrom’s second of the season.
That wouldn’t be all for Lindstrom on the night. Shortly after making it a 5-1 game, Alex Steen dished to Lindstrom for a one-timer from the point, beating Michal Neuvirth for the second time in under a minute.
The beating would finally stop as the Blues cruised to a 6-1 victory in a game that can be described as physical.
Jori Lehtera highlighted the evening with his first career hat-trick. Jaden Schwartz was good for three assists and Vladimir Tarasenko chipped in with two. Brian Elliott stopped 28 of 29 shots. The only one he let by him was with Buffalo on a power play.
The loss drops the Buffalo Sabres to 3-12-2. The Blues improve to 10-4-1 and now have 21 points, which keeps the Blues in second place in the Central after the Nashville Predators defeated the Edmonton Oilers earlier tonight.
The Blues host the first place Predators Thursday at 7PM CST and can be seen on FS-MW or heard on KMOX 1120.