This game didn’t look too good at the start for the St. Louis Blues, who were facing one of the worst road teams in the NHL, the Buffalo Sabres. The Blues may not have had a good start, but boy did they have a great finish. Jaroslav Halak was chosen for the start in this one, despite speculation that it might be Brian Elliott in goal. I mean, how do you sit a guy who just came off back to back shutouts?
The first period was actually pretty neck and neck. Shots went back and forth, but no one was scoring, even with the struggling Ryan Miller in net for the Sabres. Heck, Buffalo would even get the first laugh in this contest. At 16:13 into the period, defenseman Mike Weber would shoot the puck past a nearly blinded Halak to give the Sabres a 1-0 going into the first intermission. This would snap Halak’s best career shutout streak at 164:38. Would this bring him down to a slump for the remainder of the game? Come on, he’s an NHL goalie.
The second period would be all St. Louis. The first of two goals in this period would setup by captain David Backes. With the puck, David decided to buy some time and go all the way around the net to check for any opportunities. There he found an open B.J. Crombeen with plenty of time to think about where his shot was going to go and would tie the game up 1-1. The second goal was quite similar to the first. T.J. Oshie would carry the puck all the way around the Buffalo net, but instead of looking for an open player, he shot it. Why do that? Well, he had David Perron in front of Miller, hoping he could get to the rebound if needed. He did just that. The Blues would head into intermission with a 2-1 lead.
The final 20 minutes in this game would also go into the hands of St. Louis. Once again, you’d see the face of David Backes. Alex Pietrangelo held the puck at the blueline and saw three Blues players surrounding the net. You’re not going to do anything else in that case but shoot the puck. Watching every bit of it was Backes who would get the tip and the goal, putting the Blues up 3-1. This wouldn’t put it away, however. Nearing the end of the game, the Blues found themselves on the penalty kill and two men down after the Sabres pulled Miller from the net. Buffalo would capitalize on this advantage with a goal from Tyler Myers. In the end it would be too little, too late for the Sabres. None other than Backes would shoot the puck 3/4 the length of the rink into the empty net to give the Blues a 4-2 victory.
St. Louis is now 21-3-3 at home this season and 8-0-1 since the new year. Jaroslav may have lost his shutout streak, but the wins keep coming. Despite a rough early going in the season, he is now 11-0-3 in his past 14 starts. The Blues look once again to take the top spot in the NHL Monday night against the Central Division leading Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. This game will be televised on the NBC Sports Network. For more on tonight’s game from the opposition, please visit Sabre Noise.
Enjoy the game’s highlights, courtesy of NHL.com and be sure to follow us on Twitter!
If you, or if you know of anyone who would like to write for Bleedin’ Blue, please email [email protected] for further information.