Sabres begin brief road trip in St. Louis

Main storyline: The Buffalo Sabres (3-11-2, 8 points) will be in St. Louis tonight to face the Blues (9-4-1, 19 points).

Season series: This is the first of two meetings between the clubs this season. The second game will come on February 5th, as the Sabres will host the Blues at First Niagara Center.

Where they stand: The Sabres own sole possession of last place in the league with 8 points. They are only one point back of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who also face-off on Tuesday night. The best case scenario for Tuesday night would see the Sabres moving into 29th place with 10 points.

Recent performance: Buffalo will look to rebound after being obliterated by the Penguins 6 to 1 last Saturday. Enroth, who has struggled in his last few games, gave up 6 goals on 39 shots. The Sabres special team woes continued as they gave up 2 power play goals on 5 opportunities to the Penguins, who ripped them for 3 goals on 4 power play opportunities earlier this season. In addition to failing to keep the puck out of the net while shorthanded, the Sabres failed to connect on any of their 3 power play opportunities in this game.

Buffalo notes: After receiving the start against the Penguins, Jhonas Enroth will likely find himself on the bench again on Tuesday night. Due to his poor performances as of late, Enroth has seemingly lost the starting job he once held. He has been “dethroned” by Michal Neuvirth who has started 3 of the past 4 games for Buffalo. Regardless of who is in net the Sabres simply must play better. The Sabres give up the most shots per game as well as take the least amount of shots per game in the league. Buffalo will be in for a rough competition as they face a team who is in the top 10 for both shots against and shots taken per game.

Opponent notes: The Blues are coming off of a 2 to 1 loss to the Nashville predators on Saturday night. They will look to get back to their winning form against a weak Buffalo team. Before the loss to the Predators, the Blues tied the Anaheim Ducks record for consecutive wins this season at 7. They were able to accomplish this largely without two of their top performers: Paul Stastny and TJ Oshie. Vladimir Tarasenko will draw everyone’s attention on Tuesday night. Tarasenko earned a “Star of the Week” for the NHL as he potted 3 goals and 3 assists in 4 games last week. Looking at a slightly wider sample, Tarasenko has had 5 goals and 3 assists during a 5 game point streak, including 2 possible “Goal of the Year” candidates. Tarasenko is ranked number 11 in points per game, at 1.21, ranking him alongside some of the league’s elite scorers.

Conclusion: The Sabres begin a very short two-game Midwestern road trip as they face the Blues on Tuesday night and the Wild on Thursday night. The Sabres will likely need to be in stellar form as they take on two very capable squads in a three day span.

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