Alexander Steen scored the only goal of the shootout, giving the Blues a 3-2 win over the Sabres at Scottrade Center in St. Louis Thursday night.
It was an exciting game with the Sabres twice coming back to tie the game. Both goaltenders played well and came up with timely saves. Jake Allen notched the win. Linus Ullmark took the loss.
The Sabres entered the game on their first three-game road winning streak since March 2012. The Blues didn’t care. They continued their dominance of Buffalo. Since 1999, they’ve won 17 of 19 games against the Sabres.
Five minutes into the game, Tyler Ennis earned himself a 5 minute boarding penalty with a two-handed cross check of Alex Pietrangelo into the boards. The hit itself wasn’t vicious, but Pietrangelo was off balance when he received it, making the crash into the boards appear worse than it was. He went to the bench, but didn’t miss a shift.
It only took 33 seconds for the Blues to get on the board. With a David Backes screen, Kevin Shattenirk blasted one home from just above the faceoff circle, putting the Blues up 1-0. The shot deflected off multiple Sabre defensemen, ending up in the back of the net. Ullmark never had a chance. The Sabres, with the NHL’s worst road penalty kill, escaped the rest of the 5 minute, all-you-can-score buffet. Ryan O’Reilly even had a great chance for a shorty, with Jake Allen barely getting his stick on a rebound that deflected and hit the post.
Early in the second period, Sam Reinhart tied the game by swatting in a rebound from a Ristolainen shot from the point. Lurking down low, he was in the right place at the right time as Allen’s rebound kicked right to him. Assists went to Risto and Eichel. Surprisingly, Ennis was not offside on this goal.
The Blues quickly answered. With McCabe in the penalty box for hooking, Vladimir Tarasenko roofed one over Ullmark from the slot, putting St. Louis up 2-1. Since 2014, Tarasenko has been one of the NHL’s top snipers, trailing only Stamkos and Ovechkin in goals.
Fighting back, Ryan O’Reilly tied it at 2 with his 7th of the year for Buffalo. All alone in front of the net, Gionta fed him a sweet, no look backhand pass. Moulson also notched an assist as the line was buzzing around creating chances. O’Reilly was a force in this game, going 16-5 in faceoffs, taking 7 shots and logging 25:06 of ice time.
Late in the second period, the Sabres squandered 49 seconds of 5-on-3. Oddly, they got yet another two-man advantage early in the third period with both Scott Gomez and David Backes going off for slashing and boarding, respectively. No soup for them, as the Blues killed it off and Allen stood on his head to stop O’Reilly with a sprawling glove save.
In the final minute of regulation, Reinhart was set to walk in alone on net but Allen came way out to poke check the puck away.
The OT saw some thrilling action, including Tarasenko hitting the post on a breakaway.
The Sabres welcomed Evander Kane back from injury. He had missed 10 games due to an MCL injury.
The Sabres visit Dallas Saturday night for a chance to avenge their 3-1 loss earlier in the week. Game time is 8pm EST. After that, they’ll face the Blues again, Monday night in Buffalo.