The Buffalo Sabres looked outstanding in the first ten seconds of their contest against the St. Louis Blues tonight.
The following 59 minutes and 50 seconds? Not so much.
“I think our youth really showed tonight,” said Buffalo interim head coach Ted Nolan following the contest. “It’s just part of maturing […] We got a good lesson tonight.”
Buffalo fell to the Blues this evening 4-1 inside the First Niagara Center in a game that saw the Sabres fizzle out after a hot start. Tyler Ennis put Buffalo on the board just ten seconds into the contest when he tapped in a pass from Ville Leino beneath St. Louis netminder Jaroslav Halak.
That the Sabres struck as quickly as they did was surprising, given their habit of listless first periods so far this season. That the 13-3-2 Blues didn’t get rattled and came roaring back to take control of the game was no surprise at all.
St. Louis shrugged off Buffalo’s fast goal and matched it less than a minute later. Blues left winger Brenden Morrow tallied his first of two eventual goals on the night with a shot past Ryan Miller as a number of players crowded the Buffalo crease. Morrow added his second goal at 13:09 of the second period with a similar wrister while gliding in between the circles.
Right winger Vladimir Tarasenko netted his seventh on the season with under a minute left to go in the first period on the power play.
St. Louis later added a fourth goal in the final period on a monstrous slapshot by left winger Magnus Paajarvi, who scored his first of the year with the blast.
The general consensus of the team and the media alike following the game was that Buffalo simply got out-played by a better, more-experienced club that has made the necessary strides from bottom-dweller to elite squad.
“It’s a good model of a team,” said Ennis of the Blues. “They play hard. They’ve been together for a little while, kind of the same core and play a hard, strong game with some skill and they’re a good team to base off of.”
Buffalo will look to rebound when they travel to meet the Philadelphia Flyers this week—a team that they should be more evenly-matched with. That game will be the first meeting between the two clubs this season and will be inside the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday for a 7:00 P.M. faceoff.
“We have a lot of work to do,” said Nolan. “We just got to be patient, we got to keep teaching, keep learning.”