After entering the holiday break with a shutout win at home over Anaheim, the Sabres returned to action tonight, facing the St. Louis Blues. Familiar faces were prevalent in tonight’s matchup, which included former Sabre Ryan O’Reilly playing in his first game against Buffalo since being traded last July. Despite an even number of shots and scoring chances on both sides, Jay Bouwmeester’s first goal of the year was the game-winner as the Sabres fell 4-1 to St. Louis at the Enterprise Arena.
“We weren’t skating, we weren’t re-loading, I don’t think we played a good game overall…no excuse (travel)…absolutely no excuse…we didn’t deserve to win.” -Marco Scandella
Carter Hutton got the start in his return to St. Louis, but suffered the loss in a tough game overall by the Sabres. He finished the night with 28 saves on 32 shots faced, with three of four goals allowed occurred within the first ten minutes of the second period.
The opening period saw solid hockey being played by both teams, and resulted in no goals scored heading into the first intermission. However, that would all change as the second period got underway and saw the Blues instantly push the pace. As the first few minutes of the second were completed, Robert Thomas opened the scoring for St. Louis to give them the first lead of the night.
The Blues continued their strong play during the second period, and resulted with Jay Bouwmeester and Patrick Maroon extending the lead in two goals scored in just 54 seconds. Despite their lead, the Sabres turned a corner late in the period and put pressure on St. Louis. Although this game only saw a few penalties, but the Sabres were able to take advantage of their chances on the power play, with Eichel’s 15th of the year, which opened the scoring for Buffalo.
Assisted from Rasmus Ristolainen and Sam Reinhart, Eichel’s 15th of the year was also his first career goal against St. Louis and gave Buffalo some momentum as the second period concluded. After a wild second that saw four goals scored, the third period mirrored the first, with no goals allowed from both sides, until O’Reilly sealed the deal, giving the Blues a 4-1 lead with over six minutes remaining, and would be the final score as the Sabres lost a tough one on the road.
“It’s going to get harder now, everyone’s pushing for points right now.” -Jack Eichel
Although the final score was heavily in the favor of St. Louis, the Blues finished the game with a slim 32-31 edge in shots on goal. Tonight’s matchup only saw a few penalties, with the Blues finishing the night 0-for-1 on the power play. The Sabres, however, were able to take advantage of their chances on the power play, and Eichel’s 15th of the year helped the Sabres finish the night 1-for-2 night with the man advantage.
Despite a difficult outing in St. Louis tonight, the Sabres have to regroup before returning home, where they will host the Boston Bruins at KeyBank Center Saturday afternoon, puck drop set for 7 p.m.