The St. Louis Blues and Buffalo Sabres will get together for a Saturday matinee in Buffalo. This will be the last meeting of the season between the two teams that have had some drastic changes since their last meeting in November. The Sabres have Jack Eichel in the lineup this time around and the Blues will have a new head coach on the bench in Mike Yeo.
St. Louis comes into today’s contest red hot winning six of their last seven after the coaching change. The goaltending has improved a great deal as well with Jake Allen and Carter Hutton finally providing the play the team needed so bad for the majority of the season. The recent winning streak has helped the Blues climb the standings and they comfortably sit in third place in the Central Division entering play today.
The Sabres have won three of four and two straight for the first time since the end of January. They’ve managed to finally get themselves into the playoff conversation in the Eastern Conference, sitting only three points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs heading into play today for the final wild card spot.
With the NHL mandated bye week looming next week they want to have a good weekend with the Chicago Blackhawks making a visit tomorrow night for Hockey Day in America. Losing both games over the weekend could have the Sabres in a bad spot in the standings when they resume playing a week from today in Colorado against the Avalanche.
St. Louis Blues at Buffalo Sabres
Key Bank Center – 1:00 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – MSG-B & FW-MW
2016-17 Season Series: Nov. 15 – Blues 4, Sabres 1
St. Louis Blues – 31-22-5 – 67 Points
Road Record: 13-13-1
Hot Players: Kevin Shattenkirk, Jaden Schwartz, Carter Hutton and Vladimir Tarasenko
Key Injuries: Robby Fabbri and Paul Stastny
Alex Steen – Jori Lehtera – Vladimir Tarasenko
Jaden Schwartz – Patrik Berglund – David Perron
Kenny Agostino – Ivan Barbashev – Magnus Paajarvi
Scottie Upshall – Kyle Brodziak – Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester – Alex Pietrangelo
Kevin Shattenkirk – Robert Bortuzzo
Joel Edmundson – Colton Parayko
Jake Allen (unconfirmed)
* Lines subject to change
Buffalo Sabres – 25-23-10 – 60 Points
Home Record: 14-10-4
Hot Players: Evander Kane, Jack Eichel and Robin Lehner
Key Injuries: Derek Grant, Zemgus Girgensons and Johan Larsson
Evander Kane – Jack Eichel – Sam Reinhart
Kyle Okposo – Ryan O’Reilly – Justin Bailey
Marcus Foligno – Evan Rodrigues – Brian Gionta
Tyler Ennis – Nic Deslauriers – Matt Moulson
Rasmus Ristolainen – Jake McCabe
Dmitry Kulikov – Josh Gorges
Cody Franson – Zach Bogosian
** Lines subject to change.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Blues have really turned things around since Mike Yeo took over for Ken Hitchcock, who was relieved of his duties back on Feb. 1. They’ve gone 7-1-0 under Yeo and just completed a perfect 5-0 road trip, which improved upon an 8-13-1 road record under Hitchcock.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Sabres are going back to Robin Lehner tonight who has been excellent as of late. After picking up his second shutout in less than two weeks against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, his save percentage jumped to a .926. That save percentage ties Lehner for third place among goaltenders who have played at least 20 games. The Blues will counter with Jake Allen who picked up the win Thursday night against the Vancouver Canucks or Carter Hutton who has a shutout in three of his last four starts.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] Kevin Shattenkirk has seen his name in the rumor mill all summer and throughout this season. The 28-year old is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season and is rumored to be seeking a deal at 7-years, $49 million. The Blues are in a difficult position as they’re likely unable to re-sign him and letting him walk for nothing like they did with David Backes this past summer is poor asset management. However, the Blues have been on fire as of late, as has Shattenkirk. He’s coming off a three-point night in his last game and 42 points on the season.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] Speaking of rumor mill, Evander Kane is another player who has seen his name circulate in trade discussions all season. The 25-year old winger jumped to the Sabres leader in goals when he scored his 19th of the season on Thursday. Kane’s trade value may never be higher than it is right now, but the Sabres may not be able to afford to move the former first round pick with how he’s played as of late.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Sabres have not won a game against the Blues since Dec. 27, 2009. Since then the Blues have won nine straight over Buffalo. The Sabres last win at home against them came on Nov. 12, 2008. St. Louis is 10-1-2 all time in Buffalo since the Sabres moved from The Aud.
Chad DeDominicis was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. Chad is currently a Buffalo Sabres contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is an avid sports fan and is passionate about the game of hockey. Chad works hard to share creative and quality content with his readers.