The Buffalo Sabres (21-45-8) are on the road again two nights after the Sabres beat the New Jersey Devils in a shootout at the First Niagara Center. On Thursday, the Sabres are in St. Louis to play the Blues (51-17-7) at the Scottrade Center.
The last time these two teams met was in a November 19 matchup at the First Niagara Center. Buffalo got out to a 1-0 lead just 10-seconds into the game. But that was all the Sabres could muster as the Blues scored four unanswered goals to win 4-1. The last game, Steve Ott was still the Buffalo Sabres’ captain, and Ryan Miller took the loss in the game.
Now, Ott wears a different blue and gold, and wears the number 29 with the Blues. Miller is also with Ott in St. Louis as the number one goaltender for the Blues.
Since joining the Blues, Steve Ott has played 16 games and has only put up two assists. However, Ott is now a third line winger on a deep St. Louis team, unlike being a top line winger with the Sabres.
Ryan Miller has been dominate as the starting goaltender for the Blues. Since joining the Blues, Miller has started 14 games with a 10-3-1 record, 2.01 goals-against-average, and a .920 save-percentage.
However, Miller will not start against his former team on Thursday. Miller is resting to prepare for a weekend swing against Colorado and Chicago on Saturday and Sunday. Brian Elliot will get the start for the Blues.
On Tuesday’s game against the Devils, Ville Leino scored the shootout winning goal, while Nathan Lieuwen posted another strong performance in net to lift the Sabres to victory. Lieuwen notched his first career NHL victory in the process.
Ted Nolan is expected to ride the hot hand again and Lieuwen will get the start for Buffalo.
On Wednesday, the Sabres signed 2012 second-round pick defenseman Jake McCabe to a three-year entry-level contract. McCabe has reported directly the Sabres and could play in his first NHL game on Thursday. In 36 games in Wisconsin this year, McCabe scored eight goals and added 17 assists to help lead the Badgers to another appearance in the NCAA Frozen Four tournament. Wisconsin was knocked out in the first round by the University of North Dakota.
With McCabe possibly being ready to play on Thursday, either defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen or Chad Ruhwedel will be re-assigned to the Rochester Americans.
For injuries, Buffalo will most likely not have Tyler Myers (upper-body) or Zenon Konopka (back Spasms) available for Thursday. Torrey Mitchell (undisclosed), Jhonas Enroth (knee), Alex Sulzer (upper-body), and Michal Neuvirth (lower-body) all remain out indefinitely for Buffalo.
For the Blues, Jordan Leopold has been out since February with a high ankle sprain. Leopold could be ready to return for the playoffs. Vladimir Tarasenko had hand surgery in his right hand, but will be ready for game one of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
Opening face-off is scheduled for 8pm. The game will be broadcasted on MSG Network and WGR 550 AM.